Robert Tucker Lecture Series


Camilla Mischka, Managing Editor

On Thursday, March 24, 2022 author Dorothy Wickenden visited Hastings High School to talk about her book, The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights. The event was put together by Hastings’s own history department for the 2022 Robert Tucker Lecture Series. Ms. Wichenden’s talk focused particularly on womens’ role in American history.  

According to history teacher Greg Smith, “We, the history department, knew about the book when it was first published. It sounded really really good, so we decided, amongst the community members, to reach out to her agent. We worked everything out with the agent, and that is how we were able to have her join us.”  

The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights covers a good deal of women’s history, mentioning many different historical figures, but also focusing on three key women and what their story can tell us about American History.  Wickenden said, “What I kept thinking about when I was writing the book, and what I hope people pick up as they read it, is that being a citizen isn’t a passive act, it is an active duty to get there and express your beliefs. To act if necessary. These women [mentioned in the book] had barely any chance to succeed with what they were doing, miniscule chance, they had no power, no rights, nothing. The idea that they took part, and they helped in a very crucial way, in bringing on the second American revolution is just extraordinary, and I hope people today who have become so jaded about political action, about Congress, and everything that is wrong in the world, can choose a cause, decide you are going to pursue it, get people to work with you and you can really do something.”

After the lecture ended, I spoke to some students about their takeaways. Many left surprised and inspired from learning about what these women had contributed to historical events. 

Julia Rotiroti, a junior, said, “I left [the lecture] realizing that women had a bigger role in history than what was credited to them.”

Robert Tucker, a former, beloved history teacher from Hastings High School, sadly passed away in 2008. As a way to honor his memory and contributions to the school and community, the school decided to put together a lecture series. According to Mr. Smith, “The money [that was donated in his honor] we put towards the lecture series.  What we have done over the last ten lectures of the series is try to find people who are appealing to Hastings as a community, what not only the community would like to hear, but what Bob would have wanted to hear as well.”