Kentucky Legends: Gatewood

Farish Theater

140 East Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40507

Tuesday, April 9th
6:00pm - 7:00pm EDT

Join Matthew Strandmark for a discussion of his new book Gatewood: Kentucky's Uncommon Man. This program is part of Kentucky Legends, a series exploring our state's culture, history, and lore.

When Louis Gatewood Galbraith passed away in 2012, a flood of tributes merely scratched the surface of this “colorful” and controversial figure. Throughout his life and political career, regional and national media outlets focused on the policy ideas and public acts that made Gatewood a cultural fixture: public demonstrations, an affinity for recreational drug use, unfiltered language, and recurring political campaigns. Best known as an advocate for the legalization of cannabis, second amendment rights, and smaller government, it’s now quite easy to imagine this once quixotic platform finding traction in contemporary Kentucky politics.

In Gatewood: Kentucky’s Uncommon Man, Matthew Strandmark weaves together personal stories, public records, and oral history interviews to provide a comprehensive overview of the life and career of an eccentric and fascinating figure. Gatewood’s life was vital in developing the values that came to define his later political career, namely, a passion for rural communities and a low tolerance for bullies. As a graduate of the University of Kentucky's Law School, he found his initial calling as an evangelist for cannabis legalization. An appetite for the spotlight and standing up for the little guy launched Gatewood into a 30-year career of perennial campaigning, groundbreaking legal cases, public activism throughout the Commonwealth—and friendships with celebrities including Woody Harrelson, Jack Herer, and Willie Nelson.

Strandmark's biography insightful conversations with Gatewood’s family, colleagues, and community leaders, as well as commentary from public figures such as Paul E. Patton, Ernie Fletcher, Andy Barr, and Ben Chandler. The culmination of these narratives provides a richer and nuanced understanding of Gatewood: a generous, complicated, and flawed public figure who devoted his life to helping others—a legacy that will continue to resonate with Kentuckians for generations to come.

Matthew Strandmark is an educator, researcher, and archivist, and serves as the Education Archivist and Academic Liaison to the Appalachian Studies department at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center. Previously he served as the Outreach Archivist at Emory University’s Rose Library, in Atlanta, Georgia. He received Master of Arts (History) and Master of Library Science degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington where his research focused on modern American history.

Registration is suggested.