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EIU Media Relations

Scholar-in-Residence Prater returns to EIU to present on close-to-heart themes


(Charleston, IL) – Eastern Illinois University will host a presentation by Dr. Loretta Prater at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 6 in the Buzzard Hall Auditorium.

The presentation, titled “Excessive Use of Force, Then and Now:  A Mother of the Movement Speaks” chronicles the events in 2004 leading up to and the aftermath of the death of Dr. Prater’s son, Leslie, who was unarmed and subjected to fatal violence by law enforcement officers in Chattanooga. Her presentation includes research and personal experiences in discussing the perceived lack of accountability surrounding police misconduct, offering a variety of historical contexts and contemporary dynamics along the way. According to noted civil rights attorney Barry Scheck, “Loretta Prater was truly an exemplary ‘mother of the movement’ before the tragic events of the last few years created so many more mothers who lost their children due to excessive use of force by police.” The presentation is free and open to the general public.

As the inaugural Scholar-in-Residence for the newly realigned College of Health & Human Services at EIU, Dr. Prater also will meet with various students in EIU’s Death and Dying and Family Stress and Resilience classes during the week of February 4.

Prater chaired the School of Family & Consumer Sciences at EIU for several years before accepting the dean of the College of Health & Human Services position at Southeast Missouri State University. Prater and her husband Dwight still have many friends and colleagues at EIU and in the community from the years they resided in Charleston, becoming well known for their gracious hospitality and annual “Spring Fling” gatherings in their home.  

In February of 2008, Prater also was a guest speaker at EIU. Then, her presentation focused on police brutality and its immediate and long-term impact on black families, especially resulting from the unlawful killings of unarmed black males. Since her last visit, Prater has continued to share her story to advocate for justice and change. Her latest contribution to her cause is the 2018 publication of her book. A book signing and a question-and-answer session will follow Prater’s February 6 presentation.

“Excessive Use of Force: One Mother’s Struggle Against Police Brutality and Misconduct,” is available in the EIU Union Bookstore.

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Contact Information

Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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