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Moravian College Professor Receives Prestigious Book Award

Robert Mayer, Ph.D. received award for book, The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Bethlehem, Pa., September 16, 2005—Dr. Robert Mayer, professor of education at Moravian College, received the prestigious National Council for the Social Studies Carter G. Woodson Book Award for the best secondary level book. Mayer edited the book, The Civil Rights Act of 1964, part of the Opposing Viewpoints: At Issue in History series published by Greenhaven Press/Thomsen & Gale, which was released last year in time for the 40th anniversary of the legislation.

The Carter G. Woodson Book Awards was established by the National Council for the Social Studies to recognize outstanding social science books that address ethnicity in the United States for young readers. This award is presented to “encourage the writing, publishing, and dissemination of outstanding social studies books for young readers that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and race relations sensitively and accurately." Books relating to ethnic minorities and the authors of such books rarely receive the recognition they merit from professional organizations. By sponsoring the Carter G. Woodson Awards, the National Council for the Social Studies gives wide recognition to and directly stimulates authors and publishers.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a key element in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration’s guarantee to assure African-Americans the rights to public equality. Though guaranteed full rights of citizenship by the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed shortly after the end of the Civil War, the newly freed slaves found a host of obstacles in their way, designed by Southern policy to keep them separate and second-class.

Known throughout the Southern states as “Jim Crow” laws, such measures came from a Supreme Court decision in 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson, which enshrined the doctrine of “separate but equal” schools, housing, and public services. Its measures included segregated drinking fountains, bus-stop benches, and lunch-counter seating, and de facto segregation of public transportation, accommodations, entertainment, and housing developments.

Mayer holds a Ph.D. in education (curriculum and instruction) from Penn State University and has been on the faculty of Moravian College since 1987. His undergraduate degree (University of Cincinnati) is in social studies education and his master’s degree (Xavier University in Cincinnati) in history.

He teaches advanced courses in teaching methodologies, supervises student teachers of citizenship education (i.e., social studies), and leads a course called “Making History Live” in Moravian’s M.Ed. program for practicing teachers.

He writes on educational subjects for such publications as Social Education, Magazine of History, The Social Studies, and Teacher Education Quarterly; and on historical subjects for youth publications such as Cobblestone magazine, in whose November issue he has an article about Anne Hutchinson, an early feminist who was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for holding prayer and discussion groups with other women in her home. In the March issue of Cobblestone, whose theme is voting rights, he will have an article on African-American voting rights.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.