Mob rule at SIU

In his great 1838 Lyceum speech “The perpetuation of our political institutions,” Abraham Lincoln decried the dangers of mob rule represented by recent lynchings in Mississippi and St. Louis. Foremost on his mind, however, seems to have been the lynching at Alton, Illinois on November 7, 1837 of the abolitionist editor Elijah Lovejoy.
Recent events at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois have picked up where they left off in Alton with Mr. Lovejoy. The lynching in progress involves SIU history professor Jonathan Bean. Bean’s crime? Nowadays in southern Illinois it apparently takes far less to provoke the mob than something as radical as preaching abolitionism in 1837. Bean’s provocation was the assignment as optional reading for his history class the 2001 Frontpage column on the Bay area black-on-white serial killings of the early ’70s (“Remembering the Zebra killings” by James Lubinskas).
Bean is the SIU history department’s only Republican; the leader of the mob against Bean is one of the department’s flaming Marxists. The extreme wrongdoing on display in this Frontpage article almost defies belief: “Academic witch hunt.”
UPDATE: Reader Blake Mahan directs us to today’s article in the Daily Egyptian for the latest installment in this saga: “History department struggles with article issue.” The last sentence of the article describes the purported basis for the ferocious assault on Professor Bean: “Professors against Bean said the debate revolves around the use of improper sourcing and not whether or not he had a right to distribute the article.”


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