David Maraniss, journalist and Associate Editor at the Washington Post, is the author of twelve books, among them: Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story; They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October, 1967; as well as biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Roberto Clemente. His most recent book, A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father, should be of particular interest to the University and to the Ann Arbor Community at large. Both Maraniss's parents, Elliot and Mary, were student activists at the University of Michigan in the late 1930s. His uncle, Robert Cummins, was one of three students who volunteered in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and fought in the Spanish Civil War in defense of the Republic. In his book Maraniss offers an account of his parents' anti-fascist activism at the University, his father's work as a reporter and editor at the Michigan Daily (alongside Arthur Miller), and the persecution his parents suffered during the McCarthy era. In 1952 his father was called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. After refusing to name names, Elliot Maraniss was fired from his job at the Detroit Times and endured five years of being blacklisted from the newspaper business. Maraniss's presentation will bring to light a largely forgotten chapter in the history of the University and the Detroit area. His family's experiences in a period of heightened ideological tensions should resonate with a broad audience and prompt a serious discussion, given our own era of increasing political polarization.
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