Edwin Lewinson: Blind historian heading to jail for civil disobediance protest

Historians in the News

Human rights activist Edwin Lewinson demanded to be sent to prison following his arrest last year during a protest against a controversial school that trains Latin American troops at Fort Benning, Ga.

But the blind 78-year-old retired professor is not happy to serve his three-month sentence at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution, which is 413 miles from his home in Newark.

"It's going to make it difficult for my friends to come visit me," Lewinson said Wednesday during a small rally in his honor in front of the Peter Rodino Federal Building in Newark.

So far, Lewinson says he's received no assurances that federal officials will change their mind. He's due to report to the minimum-security prison on April 3.

It is a jail term he asked for.

Lewinson was among 20,000 people who participated in the November protest at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, once called the School of the Americas. And he was among a dozen people who were arrested. It was Lewinson's fourth arrest, but his first jail sentence..

A judge sentenced Lewinson to prison after the retired Seton Hall history professor argued that failing to send him to jail would be discriminatory because he's blind. The judge reluctantly agreed....

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