Lecture to focus on Memphis Belle navigator


Ohio Wesleyan University history professor Michael Flamm will discuss “OWU at War: Charles Leighton and the Memphis Belle” when he presents the university’s annual Vogel Lecture.

Flamm, Ph.D., will present at 7 p.m. March 28 in Benes Rooms A and B of OWU’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. The multimedia event is free and open to the public.

“Eighty years ago, the Memphis Belle safely completed 25 missions over Europe,” Flamm said. “The B-17 bomber then became the focus of a war bond tour, the subject of a celebrated documentary film, and the most famous plane of World War II. The crew’s navigator was Charles Leighton, an Ohio Wesleyan chemistry major and football player who enlisted after Pearl Harbor.”

During the event, Ohio Wesleyan plans to present Leighton’s descendants with the OWU diploma that he didn’t earn after he chose to leave the university and enlist in U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942. His decision followed Japan’s December 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, which killed more than 2,400 Americans, including civilians.

A member of the Ohio Wesleyan faculty since 1998, Flamm is the author or co-author of five books on modern U.S. history, including his latest “In the Heat of the Summer: The New York Riots of 1964 and the War on Crime” and “Law and Order: Street Crime, Civil Unrest, and the Crisis of Liberalism in the 1960s.” He also has recorded a Great Courses Series lecture, “How 1954 Changed History,” for Amazon and Audible Originals.

Flamm also is a Fulbright Scholar and has served as a faculty consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the College Board, and the National Academy of Sciences. From 2019 to 2022 he was an elected member of the executive board of the Organization of American Historians, the largest professional association dedicated to the teaching and study of U.S. history.

His presentation is Ohio Wesleyan’s 2022-2023 Joseph and Edith Vogel Lecture sponsored by the Department of History. The Vogel Lecture is made possible through an endowment from their son, Ezra F. Vogel, Ph.D., now deceased. Ezra Vogel was a 1950 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, retired professor of East Asian Studies at Harvard University, and author of the critically acclaimed book, “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China.” Learn more about the lecture series, Flamm, and the OWU Department of History at www.owu.edu/history.

Submitted by Ohio Wesleyan University.

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