ALBANY, GA - On Thursday, April 28, the Albany Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) will hold its fourth Monthly Community Night in 2011 with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff speaking on "The Race Beat: Then and Now." Klibanoff and Gene Roberts cowrote The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation published by Alfred A. Knopf and winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History. Klibanoff and Roberts argue that "There is little in American society that was not altered by the civil rights movement. There is little in the civil rights movement that was not changed by the news coverage of it. And there is little in the way the news media operate that was not influenced by their coverage of the movement."
Hank Klibanoff, a veteran journalist, is the James M. Cox, Jr. Professor of Journalism at Emory University. He was a reporter and editor for more than 35 years, held various editing positions at the Philadelphia Inquirer and served as a managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He earned an undergraduate degree in English from Washington University and a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Klibanoff also oversees the Civil Rights Cold Case Project that uses multimedia reporting to investigate unsolved racial murders that took place during the modern civil rights era in the South. In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post last summer, Klibanoff took the U.S. Justice Department to task for its "glacial pace" in trying to solve 109 southern racial murder cases. In fact, when the Justice Department had a successful prosecution it was "the result of work by investigative reporters." Thus the critical role played by reporters in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s continues today in the effort to solve cold cases involving civil rights murders.
In his presentation at ACRI, Klibanoff will discuss the work of civil rights reporters in the mid-twentieth century (subject of The Race Beat) and today (subject of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project). Judith Hampton-Thompson, editor/publisher of The Metro Gazette (Albany), will moderate the forum and Episcopalian deacon Jim Purks, a former AP reporter on civil rights in the 1960s, will introduce the speaker. Purks is the reporter pictured on the cover of The Race Beat as he interviewed Revs. Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph David Abernathy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The April 28th Monthly Community Night will begin at 7:30 p.m., at ACRI, 326 Whitney Avenue, Albany. The event is free and open to the public. A book signing by the author will follow his presentation. Copies of The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation are now available for $18.00 (tax included) in the ACRI gift shop.
The next ACRI Monthly Community Night on Thursday, May 26, will feature Deanna Weber on "The Freedom Singers: Their History and Legacy for Music Education." Dr. Weber's presentation will be illustrated by selections performed by the Albany Civil Rights Institute Freedom Singers. On Wednesday, June 1, ACRI will host the opening reception (6 p.m.) of the SNCC Southwest Georgia Project Fiftieth Anniversary Reunion (June 2-4).