MURRAY, Ky. — The history department at Murray State University will host the annual Easley Lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Curris Center Grand Ballroom with Andrew Maraniss serving as the event’s keynote speaker.

The public lecture series, now in its second year, aims to provide the community with opportunities to hear unique perspectives from guest lecturers about a variety of historical and social topics. It is named in honor of late Murray State alumnus Sid Easley, who served as former chair of the Murray State Board of Regents and was a long-time supporter of the University’s Department of History.

“As the friendliest small town in America, Murray is a hamlet of love and kindness — a community bound by friendships old and new,” said Melissa Easley, wife of the late Sid Easley. “Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important for our community to foster a sense of belonging, to grow our understanding of those who are different from us and to embrace those differences. Andrew Maraniss’ work, ‘Strong Inside,’ delves into these themes as related to sports, a topic any Racer athletics enthusiast will enjoy.”

Maraniss, the event’s keynote speaker, will discuss the collision of race and sports in the south during his presentation. He is an American author best known for “Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South.” The book, which was included on the New York Times Bestseller List for four consecutive months, depicts the story of Perry Wallace, the first African American to play college basketball under an athletic scholarship in the Southeastern Conference. Wallace attended Vanderbilt University in the 1960s.

“We hope that by attending this lecture, audience members will take away a better understanding of race and sports in the 1960s and 70s, a broader sense of community and a better understanding of Sid [Easley] himself,” Easley said.

Maraniss attended Vanderbilt University in 1992 on a Fred Russell-Grantland Rice Scholarship for sports journalism. He was inducted into the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame in 2016 and designated as Vanderbilt’s writer-in-residence in 2017. His father David Maraniss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and associate editor for the Washington Post.

The second annual Easley Lecture is free and open to the public thanks to generous contributions from the Easley family.

Guests who make a new gift (since July 1, 2018) of $100 are eligible for two individuals to have reserved seating and to attend a special reception to meet Maraniss following the lecture. All proceeds from the reception will benefit the Easley Lecture Fund. Gifts can be made by contacting the Murray State University Office of Development at 270-809-3001 or by emailing Lucy Love, director of development for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, at


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