William Issel to present McGinty Lecture on racial justice in the Sixties

Dr. William Issel, professor of history emeritus at San Francisco State University and the John E. McGinty Distinguished Chair in History at Salve Regina University for 2015-2016, will present the fall McGinty Lecture, “Peace with Justice: Bishop Mark J. Hurley, the Black Power Movement, and Racial Justice in the Sixties,” on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Free and open to the public, Issel’s talk will be presented at 7 p.m. in Bazarsky Lecture Hall, located in O’Hare Academic Center. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by calling (401) 341-2927.

Issel is writing the third book in a trilogy that explores the complex relationships that linked the Vatican, American Catholics and U.S. politics and policy during the 20th century. His lecture draws on research for that book to describe how a Catholic bishop drew on the work of Vatican II to broker a settlement of the San Francisco State College student strike in 1968-1969, the longest such event in United States history.

According to Issel, “the bishop was one of many white Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish social justice advocates who worked cooperatively with Black civil rights activists during the 1950s and 1960s. As we search for ways to address our own racial justice challenges today, we need to remind ourselves that interracial cooperation served us well in the past and ought to be an ideal for the future, whether in the Bay Area or the Ocean State.”

Issel has B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from San Francisco State College, and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.

His co-authored book with Robert W. Cherny, “San Francisco, 1865-1932” was described as “a major achievement” and his recent books have been praised as “illuminating,” “path breaking,” and “exemplary in scholarly integration of urban, political, and religious history.” He received the 2014 Award of Merit from the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.

He served as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Westminster (formerly the Polytechnic of Central London) and the Laszlo Orszach Chair in American Studies at the University of Pecs, in Hungary. He taught in the history, humanities, and urban studies departments at San Francisco State for 38 years and served as coordinator of the American Studies Program and as associate chair of the history department.

Established in honor of the late John E. McGinty, former trustee and parent of 2001 Salve Regina graduate John W. McGinty, the McGinty Chair furthers the educational advancement of undergraduate students in the areas of American studies, cultural and historic preservation and history. After a nationwide search, Issel was selected as the second chair holder for the 2015-16 academic year. Dr. Maureen Montgomery, a longtime professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, was the first McGinty Chair, serving through the 2014-2015 academic year.