Sociology Club to Host Local Legends: Merle McCurdy Feb. 12

Featuring Special Guest, Ashtabula NAACP President Liz Penna

The Kent State University at Ashtabula Sociology Club will host “Local Legends: The Life and Legacy of Merle M. McCurdy” Tuesday, Feb. 12, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Huggins Lecture Hall (H109) in Robert S. Morrison Hall. The event is free and open to the public.


Local attorney and historian Richard Dana, Esq. and Kent State Ashtabula library director and Assistant Professor Amy Thomas, MLIS will lead a discussion on McCurdy, a Conneaut native who was appointed the first African-American United States Attorney from the Northern District of Ohio. Ashtabula NAACP President Liz Penna is the featured guest.


Born in 1912, McCurdy was a descendant of freed slaves who aided Freedom Seekers along the Underground Railroad.  After graduating from Conneaut High School, he earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve University and went on to serve as an assistant prosecuting attorney for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office. He was the county’s initial public defender and worked at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland upon his appointment to U.S. Attorney by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. His journey to success during the modern Civil Rights Movement proved inspirational to others.


Additional information on the life and career of McCurdy can be found in the Kent State Library’s Merle McCurdy Collection at For more information about the event, contact Assistant Professor of Sociology Jessica Leveto, Ph.D., at 440-964-4568 or


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POSTED: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 8:56am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 5:24pm
Kent State Ashtabula Communications & Marketing