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Pulitzer Prize winner Wilkerson to speak March 18

A University of South Carolina symposium that will bring civil-rights and media scholars to Columbia will feature a public lecture by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson Friday, March 18.

Wilkerson will discuss her book, “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” which examines the early to mid- 20th-century migration of African-Americans in the South to the North and West. Her lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in the Richland County Public Library on Assembly Street. It is free and open to the public.

On March 18 – 19, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications will host its first Media & Civil Rights History Symposium. More than 50 scholars from history, journalism and other disciplines in the U.S., the United Kingdom and South Africa will gather to share research and discuss the relationship between civil-rights movements and various types of public communication, including traditional media, the Internet and social media.

“More historians are turning to media as a subject of study, recognizing it as a historical force, not simply the stuff of footnotes,” said Dr. Kathy Roberts Forde, an assistant professor. “We are in the midst of an important moment of change. Traditional news organizations are contracting, and online and social media are expanding. As a country, we struggle to negotiate the ongoing problem of racial inequality as we hear premature messages about living in a ‘post racial’ world. We need to understand more fully the complex, ambiguous historical relationship between media and civil rights.”

Earlier on Friday, Wilkerson will provide the keynote address at a symposium lunch. The first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, Wilkerson is the director of the Narrative Nonfiction Program in the College of Communication at Boston University.

At the luncheon, Director and Associate Dean Carol Pardun will award the first Farrar Media and Civil Rights History Award to Gordon Mantler, a lecturing fellow in Duke University’s Thompson Writing Program. The award recognizes the best journal article or chapter in an edited collection on the historical relationship between the media and civil rights. It is named for USC professor emeritus Dr. Ronald T. Farrar and his wife, Gayla D. Farra.

The annual symposium builds on civil-rights research strengths of many of the school’s faculty, including Forde, and her colleagues Sid Bedingfield and Kenneth Campbell, all media historians.

The USC symposium coincides with the school’s hosting of the 2011 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Southeast Colloquium, an annual professional conference of journalism and communications professors in the fields of history, law, print media and broadcast media. It is the fourth time USC has hosted the colloquium since its establishment in 1976; the last one hosted by USC was in 2001 in Charleston.

Wilkerson’s keynote address is a featured event for both gatherings. The School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers her evening talk in partnership with the Friends of Richland County Public Library with support from USC’s History Center and African American Studies Program.

Details about the symposium are online at http://jour.sc.edu/mcrhs/index.html. For additional information, contact Forde at 803-777-3321 or via e-mail fordekr@sc.edu

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 03/04/11 @ 5:00 PM | Updated: 03/18/11 @ 9:32 AM | Permalink

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