Carleton Convocation to Feature Expert on Race Issues in the US

Jan 23 2009 10:50 am
Jan 23 2009 12:00 pm

Carleton Convocation to Feature Expert on Race Issues in the US

On Friday, January 23, Carleton College will present Douglas Blackmon, noted author and Wall Street Journal bureau chief in Atlanta. Considered an expert on race issues in the United States, many of his stories have explored the interplay of wealth, corporate conduct and racial segregation. Blackmon will be presenting Carleton’s weekly convocation address at 10:50 a.m. in Skinner Memorial Chapel; a booksigning will follow his speech. This event is free and open to the public.

A graduate of Hendrix College, Blackmon wrote his first newspaper article at the age of 12. Today, as the Atlanta bureau chief, he manages the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of airlines and other major transportation companies and publicly traded companies and institutions based in the southeastern U.S. The Journal staff in Atlanta also write about key news and issues in the 11-state region, including race, immigration, poverty, politics and, in recent years, global warming and hurricanes. Blackmon’s stories or the work of his team have been nominated by the Journal for Pulitzer Prizes four times, including coverage of the subprime meltdown, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Florida hurricanes in 2004, and for his 2001 examination of slave labor in the 20th century. His article on U.S. Steel was included in the 2003 edition of Best Business Stories. The Journal’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina received a special National Headliner award in 2006.

Outside of his newspaper career, Blackmon has also written widely on the subject of race, especially on the connection between race issues and the actions of major corporations, and on how modern society ought to address the legacy of our racist past. In 2000, the National Association of Black Journalists recognized his work uncovering the secret role of J.P. Morgan & Co. in the 1960s moving money between a rich Northern white supremacist and Southern segregationists during the Civil Rights Movement. A year later, he revealed in the Journal how U.S. Steel Corp. relied on forced black laborers in Alabama coal mines in the early 20th century, an article which led to his first book, Slavery By Another Name (Doubleday, 2008), which broadly examines how a form of neoslavery thrived in the U.S. long after legal abolition.

“Slavery By Another Name is a passionate, highly impressive, and hugely important book,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning author David J. Garrow. “Blackmon’s magnificent research paints a devastating picture of the ugly and outrageous practices that kept tens of thousands of black Americans enslaved until the onset of World War II. A powerful and eye-opening account of a crucial but unremembered chapter of American history.”

Copies of Blackmon’s groundbreaking book will be available for purchase at a 15% discount at the Carleton Bookstore one week prior to the convocation. Copies will also be sold at the event.

The convocation is sponsored by Carleton’s Office of College Relations. For additional information or disability accommodations, contact