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News Release
Pulitzer Prize winners, rights leaders and scholars to discuss civil rights history
and its implications at LSU on April 17 - 18

(March 25, 2013) - Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalists, civil rights leaders and scholars will congregate at Louisiana State University on April 17-18 to discuss the history of the civil rights movement and its implications for racial equality in contemporary society.

Jointly sponsored by LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, its Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and the Media Diversity Forum, the program is a highlight of the school’s celebration of its 100th anniversary in journalism education.

“Our purpose is straight-forward,” program organizer Robert Ritter of the Manship School said. “We want to heighten understanding of our civil-rights history among students, faculty and friends, with a strong emphasis on lessons learned and how those lessons might help facilitate the development of meaningful approaches to contemporary civil-rights issues.”

The public is invited for April 18 panel discussions from 9 to 11 a.m. on the history of the movement and 2 to 4 p.m. on contributions history has made to understanding for equality and living together. Both will be in the Holliday Center of the Journalism Building on the LSU campus.  

Keynote speaker for the event will be Dorothy Cotton, former education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. As the education director, she was considered one of the highest ranking women with the SCLC.

Veteran journalists who will share their views include Hank Klibanoff and Gene Roberts, who co-authored The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of a Nation that won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History; Moses Newson, a pioneering civil rights journalist with the Afro-American Newspapers, who covered stories throughout the South and the rest of the country during the height of the movement in the 1950s and 1960s; John Seigentheler, former reporter and executive at The Tennessean in Nashville who served as special assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy during the civil rights era; and Arlene Notoro Morgan, associate dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, co-editor of The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity.  

Adding the scholarly perspective will be Dr. Danielle L. McGuire, assistant professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit and award-winning author of At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power and Dr. Frank Harold Wilson, professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, author of Race, Class, and the Postindustrial City: William Julius Wilson and the Promise of Sociology.

The symposium will celebrate progress and assess the work left to do to ensure that All Americans enjoy equal rights, Ritter added. Participants will discuss contemporary civil-rights issues and celebrate the journalists and those they covered to highlight the plight of African Americans caught in their struggle to gain social and economic freedom.

Dean Jerry Ceppos said the program will serve as an important reminder of the role of journalism and, locally, a major focus for the Manship School’s service to its students and citizens of the state.

“Those of us at the Manship School are passionate in our belief that our students should learn first-hand from those who sacrificed so much in the name of racial equality,” Ceppos said. “They, after all, must carry the torch into the future. We also believe that contemporary service to the state is an important part of the role of an effective university.”

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