The Progressive Movement in Ohio

News Release Date: 

Director of ProgressOhio, to present at annual campus lecture honoring Norman Thomas

The Ohio State University at Marion invites the community to the 41st Annual Norman Thomas Memorial Lecture in the Guthery Community Room, Maynard Hall, on the Marion Campus, Friday, April 5th, 12 to 1 p.m. 

This year’s speaker is Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio.  Rothenberg will present a lecture entitled, What Is, What Was, and What Will Be: The Progressive Movement in the 21st Century.  Rothenberg will discuss Norman Thomas’ advocacy for progressive change throughout the twentieth century on issues ranging from civil rights to environmental protection, economic equality and pacifism. 

According to Rothenberg, despite major social upheaval in the past century, the progressive movement still faces significant challenges.  Learning from the lessons of what was during Norman Thomas' lifetime, this year’s lecture will examine the political realities of what is today, and evaluate what can and will be in the future. 

Under Rothenberg’s leadership, ProgressOhio, which he founded in 2006, has become the state's largest progressive advocacy organization, working for a variety of causes including reducing gun violence, passing same-sex marriage legislation, exposing corporate influence in government, and advocating common-sense solutions to state and federal budget challenges. 

Since 1972, The Norman Thomas Memorial Lecture has been delivered annually at the Marion Campus of The Ohio State University.  Lecturers are chosen from a wide variety of fields; historians, labor leaders, educators, editors, and authors have spoken during the series. All lecturers invited to speak have demonstrated concerns similar to those for which Norman Thomas lived—peace, social justice, rational discourse, and the expansion of democracy.

The Norman Thomas Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public.  The 41st Annual Norman Thomas Lecture is organized by the History Department at Ohio State Marion, and sponsored by the Harding/Thomas Endowment Fund, and Fahey Bank.