Alumni Programs

Civil Rights in America: Book Seminar on A Mighty Long Way

traveling seminar iconPORTLAND, OR


Participate in this authentic Evergreen seminar exploring civil rights in America through the lens of school desegregation in the South. All pre-registered participants will receive a copy of the seminar book in the mail - Carlotta Walls Lanier’s A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock High School. Member of the Faculty Rita Pougiales ’72 and Attorney Rick Okamura ’98  will facilitate the discussion while Keri Carkeek ’92, current member of The Evergreen State College Foundation Board of Governors serves as our host. Register Now

Program Overview

In September 2012, The Evergreen State College revived a tradition of offering a common reading to all new students. More than 1,200 new students received a copy of Lanier’s A Mighty Long Way, then participated in several orientation-week seminars and heard the author speak at the all-campus convocation.

This coming February, Portland-area Greeners will explore this important and difficult time in American history and draw connections to today’s civil rights challenges.

About Traveling Seminars

Around the country, alumni, parents and friends of the college gather for faculty-led discussions around big ideas. Feed your passion for life-long learning and activate your engagement with the Evergreen community by participating.

Preparing for the Seminar

When she was just 14 years old, Lanier stepped into history as a member of the Little Rock Nine. How did she come to be in this role? What lessons can we discover in her story? As you read Lanier’s book, write down the questions you want to explore. In addition to discussing and analyzing this book, you will have an opportunity to learn how Evergreen used it to welcome and orient new students and to launch the new Academic Statement Initiative. Shortly after you register, we will send you a copy of Laniers’ book in the mail.

  • Friday, February 15, 2013
  • 6:00–6:45 pm Reception with light refreshments
  • 6:45–9:00 pm Seminar
  • The Envoy, 2336 SW Osage St. #703, Portland, Oregon 97205
  • Limit of 25 participants
  • Regular registration: $20
  • Discounted registration for Evergreen students and alumni who graduated between 2008–2012: $10

Seminar Facilitators

Rita Pougiales '72
Rita Pougliales

Rita came to Evergreen as a senior in the fall of 1971 and enrolled in the program, Individual, Citizen and State taught by David Marr, David Hitchens, Betty Ruth Estes, Kirk Thompson and Paul Marsh. After graduating in 1972, she spent the next few years teaching in an alternative education program in Worcester, Massachusetts. She returned to graduate school at the University of Oregon and completed a degree in anthropology with an emphasis on public education and child development. She joined the faculty at Evergreen in the fall of 1979. During the last 32 years, she has taught in a wide range of programs and served twice as an academic dean.

Rick Okamura '98

After graduating from Evergreen in 1998, Frederick (“Rick”) Okamura earned his JD and Certificate in Federal Tax Law from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in 2002. He is a member of the Oregon and Washington Bars, the United States Tax Court and the United States District Court for Oregon. His areas of practice include tax litigation, business law, estate planning, family law and bankruptcy. Rick enjoys spending his free time brewing beer, triathlon racing, and hiking.

As the father of three children, Rick says that it is, “thanks in part to the bravery of Frederick OkamuraCarlotta and the Little Rock nine that my children will grow up in a much better American culture than they, or I, even did. I am also buoyed by the role the justice system and the rule of law played in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Most people have never even considered that it is only the executive branch’s willingness to support and defend the constitution that made the movement possible. Our judiciary commands no guns and has only the constitution, tradition, and moral virtue to brace its back against. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to co-facilitate a seminar on such an important topic.”

Your regular yearly gifts to the Evergreen Annual Fund are vital to the continued support of students and faculty. Thank you. The goal of the Traveling Seminar Series is to bring together members of the extended Evergreen community to rekindle the joy of intellectual exploration.