Humanities Nebraska announced that Joe Starita of Lincoln will receive the 2019 Sower Award in the Humanities. Starita will be honored Oct. 24 at Omaha’s Holland Performing Arts Center, immediately preceding the 24th Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities featuring historian Dwight David Eisenhower II.
The Sower Award is presented annually to an individual who has made “a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.” This contribution can be through any combination of time, expertise or resources, and the selection committee examines how the nominee has helped inspire and enrich personal and public life in our state through the humanities.
Molly O’Holleran, who nominated Starita for the Sower Award, described Starita as the “ultimate storyteller” who “inspires our thinking in a way that calls each of us to seek truth in our own lives, analyze the problems, explore solutions and plant our own seeds of courage to enhance humanity.”
Currently a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Starita previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Miami Herald. There, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in local reporting when he exposed corruption in local government.
He has also penned three award-winning books that explore the historic role of Native Americans, showcasing their courage in the face of racial prejudice. All profits from his books, “I am A Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice” and “A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor,” are forwarded to a scholarship fund that enables Nebraska Native American students to attend accredited universities.
“A Warrior of the People” is this year’s One Book for North Platte selection.