The Civil Rights Forum

Baton Rouge, LA

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Event Details

Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalists, civil rights leaders and scholars will congregate at Louisiana State University on April 18 to discuss the history of the civil rights movement and its implications for racial equality in contemporary society. The featured guest speaker will be Dr. Dorothy Cotton, a pioneering civil rights activist and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jerry Ceppos, Dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication, said,"This program will serve as an important reminder of the role of journalism and mass communication in ensuring equal rights — both nationally and across our 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. They, after all, must carry the torch into the future."

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.


Schedule of Events

9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The Movement

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s represented one of the most calamitous periods of American history. Journalists, activists and historians discuss lessons learned, what happened, the role of media, and the issues that inspired unprecedented change in both the North and South. 


12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. 

Legacy of Shame/Civil Rights Cold Cases

Students at LSU and Emory University have combed F.B.I. files to uncover literally thousands of letters and documents relating to unsolved homicide cases from the civil rights era. 

Stanley Nelson of the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La., a runner-up for the Pulizer Prize, discusses his work, along with students from the Manship School of Mass Communication. They are joined by Professor Jay Shelledy of Manship and Hank Klibanoff, the James M. Cox Jr. chair in journalism at Emory University. 


1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Moment

A panel of sociologists, journalists and writers discuss lessons learned from the civil rights movement that are applicable today. What contributions does that history make to our understanding of equality and living together five decades removed? What issues do we face in 2013 and beyond? What's the role of journalism, political communication, education and activism? Where are the leaders?