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New York Times Cites Prof. John Dittmer in Article on the Late Dr. David French

April 6, 2011

2857April 6, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — A New York Times story on the death of "Dr. David M. French, who helped found an organization of doctors that provided medical care to marchers during the civil rights era and who later organized health care programs in 20 African nations," cites a book by a DePauw University professor. 

"A surgeon, Dr. French was an organizer of the Medical Committee for Human Rights and in March 1965 led more than 120 of its members in the third, and finally successful, attempt by voting-rights advocates to march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, the state capital," writes the Times' Dennis Hevesi. On several occasions, groups led by Dr. French provided medical care to marchers who had suffered attacks.

"In his 2009 book The Good Doctors, John Dittmer wrote: 'Wherever there was a demonstration or confrontation, be it at the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside Selma or on the Meredith March in the South, in Resurrection City with the Poor People’s Campaign, at Columbia University during the student rebellion, in the streets outside of Chicago outside the Democratic National Convention in 1969, or at Wounded Knee with the American Indian Movement, men 53176and women in white coats and Red Cross armbands were on the scene, providing ‘medical presence’ and assistance to the people who were putting themselves at risk.'"

Dr. Dittmer is professor emeritus of history at DePauw.  He was the recipient of the 2006 Indiana Humanities Award and 2005-07 Ford Foundation Fellowships and received the Bancroft Prize, generally considered the most prestigious award in the field of American history writing, for his 1995 book Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi.

Dr. French, who was 86, died March 31.  Read more at the Times' website (a subscription may be required).

John Dittmer delivered the principal address to DePauw's Class of 2009 at the University's 170th commencement and received an honorary doctoral degree. A summary of his remarks and an MP3 file of the complete speech can be accessed in this report.

Source: New York Times

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