Historian Steve Valdespino will give a “high-energy and engaging” lecture next week about the year 1968 in America. [Courtesy photo]

There was a lot going on in 1968 – culturally, politically, militarily – and, whether you were present during that time, or not yet born – an upcoming lecture at the Grand County Public Library should be quite fascinating.

Historian Steve Valdespino will be giving the free presentation at the library, 257 E. Center St., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m.

Valdespino taught college and high school history for 25 years before founding his lecture series, “Have Lecture Will Travel” in 2012 to passionately share historical events he finds most interesting. His latest completed program is “1968,” which begins with events that occurred in January of that year, and concludes on Dec. 31.

“It’s relatively recent history; it was an incredible year,” Valdespino said.

Other of his programs include entire decades of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. There was “so much heavy stuff going on in the 60s,” however, that Valdespino decided to focus on one year – 1968.

“Vietnam (War) permeates everything,” Valdespino said. “There were the protests – and not just in America.”

The assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. occurred that year. To “mitigate” the “heaviness” of the era, Valdespino included the number one rock song and rock group – “profoundly important artists of rock ‘n’ roll” for each month of the year.

Valdespino will talk about major sporting events, including the Heidi Bowl – a legendary American Football League game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets – notable for its exciting finish.

The historian will also mention an episode of “Star Trek” where an actor sabotages a director’s attempt to mollify racists in the South.

The program also touches upon technology and popular movies.

As a teacher, Valdespino said he talked and walked, without the use of PowerPoint or other media. Putting together audiovisual programs for his lecture series became an art form for him. Every slide includes multiple images with a “tapestry of sound effects” in the background.

Valdespino, who resides in Naples, Florida, said he is excited about his upcoming road trip to Utah. The 62-year-old historian said he hasn’t been “out West” since 1976. As a history teacher, and a single father for the past 10 years, he hasn’t made the journey.

“I’ve always wanted to get out there for some astronomy – with a real Western sky,” he said.

The Castle Valley branch of the Grand County Public Library hosts lectures by local experts on the first Thursday of every other month. The main Moab branch is looking to incorporate additional lifelong learning events to complement its ongoing schedule of author visits, film screenings and book clubs, Grand County Public Library Head of Adult Services Meghan Flynn said.

“Steve came highly recommended to us by the San Juan County Library, so we are looking forward to hosting him in the Grand County Public Library,” Flynn said.

Historian brings lively presentation about 1968 to library on Aug. 2

When: Wednesday, Aug. 2, from 7 to 8 p.m.

Where: Grand County Public Library, Large Meeting Room,

257 E. Center St.

Cost: Free

Information: www.havelecturewilltravel.com/the-programs/