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Pulitzer Prize winner to speak

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) will hold its Monthly Community Night on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff speaking on "The Race Beat: Then and Now."

Klibanoff and Gene Roberts co-wrote "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation" and winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History.

"There is little in American society that was not altered by the civil rights movement," Klibanoff said. "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."

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.

A native of Florence, Ala., 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," he said, illustrating that 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-20th 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.