“She was called ‘that awful woman’ by her neighbors” and slandered in the national press as “an atheist mother”. Emmy winning producer/filmmaker Jay Rosenstein brings us the story of Vashti McCollum as she stood strong against society for what she believed in. Later, McKay Jenkins shares his story to help create awareness of potential chemical exposure in surprising places.
In 1945, a young mother of three from a small central Illinois town filed a lawsuit that would forever change the relationship between public education and religion in America. Vashti McCollum received up to 200 letters a day, many of which were death threats not only against her but her husband and children as well. She and her husband were nearly outlawed by the State of Illinois from working at the state university again. She was branded a communist and many of her friends turned their backs on her. In the face of such overwhelming adversity, McCollum stood by her convictions and her lawsuit led to a decision that still resonates over 60 years later. Jay Rosenstein brings her story to the small screen in The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today, airing on PBS throughout the summer. The film has won two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, and recently won a Silver Gavel award from the American Bar Association. The film recounts McCollum’s “three years of headlines, headaches, and hatred,” and shows the extraordinary courage an otherwise ordinary woman in altering our country’s history.
“Jenkins has written a ‘Silent Spring‘ for the human body” according to New York Times bestselling author Richard Preston. With the revealing What’s Gotten Into Us: Staying Healthy in a Toxic World, McKay Jenkins shares a frightening story that could happen to anyone at any time. After discovering an orange sized tumor in his abdomen, he was startled by some of the examples of ways he could have been exposed to dangerous chemicals that may have caused it. Just a few of these were weed killers, glue, detergent, and plastic meat wrap. His new book examines some of these everyday items that can make you sick, and shows how to make wiser, healthier choices. Jenkins has been penning books for over 25 years, and is currently a professor of English and Director of Journalism at the University of Delaware.
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