Yale Law Professor and Author Set for Tuesday Lectures

James Forman Jr. to provide a critical look at the criminal justice system

James Forman Jr. Photo courtesy Harold Shapiro

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will host James Forman Jr., author of the acclaimed new book “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” for a series of lectures and events Tuesday (Nov. 14) on campus.

Forman, a professor at the Yale Law School, will speak at the UM School of Law’s Weems Auditorium at 12:45 p.m., followed by a book signing. He speaks again at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, with a reception following. All events are free and open to the public.

Forman teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. He is particularly interested in schools, prisons and police.

“I’ve known James for all of my professional career as a lawyer,” said Tucker Carrington, UM assistant professor of law and director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project. “I was fortunate to be his colleague when we were both public defenders in D.C.

“Professor Forman will downplay his talent, but he was a superb trial lawyer – whip-smart, personable, thoughtful and deeply passionate about his clients and their plight. Juries got it immediately; they loved him. He has brought those same qualities to his teaching and to the subject matter of his new book: the complex reasons behind our national problem with over-incarceration.”

For the Overby Center program, Carrington will conduct a conversation on social issues with Forman.

“We believe it will be a provocative program and a strong way to wind up our fall series,” said Curtis Wilkie, the university’s Overby fellow.

After graduating from Brown University and Yale Law School, Forman clerked for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court. He then joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

During his time as a public defender, Forman became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. In 1997, he, along with David Domenici, started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. The school has since expanded and is run inside D.C.’s juvenile prison.

“Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017) argues that law enforcement initiatives by black officials have had devastating consequences for black communities. The book has been listed on the National Book Award Longlist, among other critical praise.

For more information, contact Carrington at 662-915-5207 or carringw@olemiss.edu.

Women and Entrepreneurship Week Kicks off Monday

Campus and community agencies partner to host slate of events

OXFORD, Miss. – A new weeklong observance at the University of Mississippi focuses on women and minorities in entrepreneurial businesses, with a goal of encouraging more women to launch their own business ventures.

The inaugural Women and Entrepreneurship Week begins Monday (Nov. 13), hosted by the university’s Career Center, School of Engineering and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, housed in the School of Business Administration. The series of events is sponsored by the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and the Mabus Agency of Tupelo.

Staff at the CIE have wanted to host an event for almost two years to demonstrate to women that entrepreneurship is a vibrant pathway to a career, said Cobie Watkins, the center’s director of student and alumni programs.

“Historically, men have possessed a greater hold on the entrepreneurial market, but that’s changing now,” Watkins said. “We want women to see they can be just as successful in this field as men.”

More women are imagining themselves as business owners and entrepreneurs – almost 42 percent in 2015, up from 36 percent in 2012 – and those numbers are continuing to grow, Watkins said.

The center’s goal is to have students think about starting their own businesses and broadening their opportunities to become more innovative, said Richard J. Gentry, associate professor of entrepreneurship and CIE strategy director.

“The job market today is much less stable than it was a generation ago,” Gentry said. “A primary mission of a college is to help students appreciate the range of employment opportunities in both small and large businesses.

“WE Week is a central part of that and we’re so happy to be partnering with our friends across campus to present it.”

The week features four events, each of which focuses on a different aspect of business. The events are designed to coach students in professional development areas that affect women students with entrepreneurial aspirations.

The first event, “Be You: Branding Your Life,” is set for noon Tuesday (Nov. 14) in the Overby Center auditorium. It includes regional experts who will advise attendees on how to best market themselves in their careers.

Up next is a small business panel, set for 2 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 15) in Holman Hall, Room 30.

“We believe entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial careers are going to continue to shape the economy of Mississippi and the region,” Watkins said. The speakers and panelists at these events will be a wonderful example for our attendees.”

Set for noon Thursday (Nov. 17), “Up, Up and Away: Following Your Passions Beyond Expectations” will feature representatives from Sierra Madre Research, a startup in Calhoun City, and Juli and Richard Rhett, a couple who scored a deal with entrepreneur Richard Branson on the television show “Shark Tank.”

The closing event, at noon Friday (Nov. 18), will feature Brittany Wagner from Netflix’s “Last Chance U,” discussing her success story. Both Thursday and Friday’s events will be in the Overby Center auditorium.

“I feel like these topics will offer good information to so many students who are interested in these areas for their careers,” said Casey Cockrell, assistant director of employer services at the UM Career Center. “There is something for everyone all week.”

A committee of six women, ages 19 and up, developed the events with the goal of getting attendees to think about the career challenges they face as women, Watkins said.

“We took those ideas and narrowed down the list to showcase subject areas and speakers that would represent a multitude of viewpoints of women in their careers and women as entrepreneurs,” she said.

“The world of work is constantly changing and trends develop,” Cockrell said. “Right now is a good time to learn about entrepreneurship as it might be the best and most rewarding career path for a student.”

Overby Center Fall Lineup Focuses on State’s History

Opening program Tuesday looks at journalists covering university's 1962 integration

Tom Oliphant, a former Boston Globe reporter, will return to campus to discuss ‘The Road to Camelot,’ a book he wrote with Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics begins its 11th year at the University of Mississippi with emphasis on the state’s 200th birthday and a program about the role of journalists during the crisis surrounding the integration of the school 55 years ago.

The opening program, at 4 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 26), is built around journalism professor Kathleen Wickham’s new book, “We Believed We Were Immortal.” The presentation will include a short film about a reporter slain during the all-night riot – the only fatality suffered among journalists who covered the civil rights movement through the 1960s – as well as a conversation between three well-known figures at Ole Miss.

Wickham will be joined in the discussion by Don Cole, UM assistant provost. Douglass Sullivan-Gonzales, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, will serve as moderator.

“The fall programs at the Overby Center will reveal fresh insights into some historic issues,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the center. “These programs once again reaffirm that William Faulkner was right about the past not being past.”

Free and open to the public, the discussion and all the remaining fall events are in the Overby Center auditorium.

The talk will be preceded by an eight-minute film about Paul Guihard, the French journalist who was shot and killed during the turmoil. The mystery surrounding his death has never been solved. The film was prepared by Mykki Newton, a former television journalist and staff member at the university’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Tuesday’s event will be followed by five other programs during the fall semester:

– Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m. – Charles Eagles, a longtime member of the history faculty at Ole Miss, will discuss his new book, “Civil Rights Culture Wars,” with K.B. Melear, professor of higher education. Eagles’ book deals with a controversy that spanned much of the 1970s over efforts to introduce a new textbook that fully chronicles Mississippi’s troubled racial history into public high schools in the state. Earlier textbooks sugarcoated slavery and glorified the Confederacy.

– Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m. – John F. Kennedy’s audacious plan to win Southern support in 1960 by courting prominent segregationists in the region, while at the same time trying to enlist civil rights activists in Northern states, will be the subject of a conversation with Tom Oliphant and Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie, who worked together as journalists for the Boston Globe for more than a quarter-century and are co-authors of a new book, “The Road to Camelot.” Charles Overby will act as moderator.

– Oct. 24, 5:30 p.m. – Six weeks before the dedication the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the directors of both museums, Rachel Myers and Pamela Junior, will talk about how they chose the topics and artifacts to be featured in the facilities at a time when Mississippi’s history continues to be debated.

– Nov. 7, 2:30 p.m. – A group of Ole Miss students, along with Overby fellow Bill Rose and Ji Hoon Heo of the journalism faculty who accompanied them, will discuss their summer trip to Sri Lanka and their work to produce a magazine and video presentations about the exotic land where an ancient culture has survived a brutal civil war and a disastrous tsunami in recent years.

– Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m. – James Forman Jr., a Yale Law School professor, author of the critically-acclaimed “Locking Up Our Own” and son of a prominent civil rights leader, will discuss his belief that some approaches adopted by prosecutors and African-Americans to control crime actually have had a devastating impact in poor black communities. He will be joined in the conversation by Tucker Carrington, director of the Innocence Project at the UM School of Law.

For more information about the Overby Center, visit http://overbycenter.org/.

Overby Center to Salute Mississippi’s 200th Anniversary

Programs examine state's history and look to the future

State Rep. Jay Hughes will discuss Mississippi’s commitment to education Friday at the Overby Center.

OXFORD, Miss. – In recognition of the 200th anniversary of Mississippi’s statehood, the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will put special emphasis on Mississippi programs during the spring semester.

“The people and events in Mississippi’s past provide an interesting glimpse into our state’s future,” explained Charles Overby, chairman of the center, in announcing the lineup.

The first of six events – “How Deep is Mississippi’s Commitment to Education?” – will concentrate on one of the most controversial issues in the state. Rep. Jay Hughes, an Oxford Democrat who has been outspoken in his criticism of the administration and the Legislature’s approach to education, will be joined by Bracey Harris, an education reporter for the Clarion-Ledger, for a conversation at 6 p.m. Friday (Feb. 10).

Using the slogan “It ALL starts with education” for his frequent emails to constituents and other interested parties, the first-term legislator has closely tracked bills involving educational issues and sharply faulted a new formula devised by a New Jersey firm hired by the Republican leadership to determine levels of state aid for various school districts in the state.

“Jay Hughes has become one of the most urgent voices in the Legislature,” Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie said. “Our program is designed to give him an opportunity to expand on his thoughts, while offering members of our community a chance to question him during a Q&A session.”

The program, like all Overby Center events, is free and open to the public. Arrangements are being made to provide parking in a lot adjacent to the Overby Center.

Following most of this spring’s programs, a reception also will provide opportunities for members of the audience to mingle with special guests.

Other events on the Overby agenda this spring:

– Feb. 17, 1:30 p.m. – “Assault on the Media.” Four prominent Mississippi journalists  discuss a growing hostility toward the press. Overby fellow Bill Rose will moderate a panel discussion that includes Jerry Mitchell, prize-winning investigative reporter at the Clarion-Ledger; the newspaper’s popular cartoonist Marshall Ramsey; Ronnie Agnew, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting; and Kate Royals, another award-winning education reporter for Mississippi Today.

– March 8, 6 p.m. – “Revisiting Jefferson Davis and J.Z. George: U.S. Capitol Relics?” William “Brother” Rodgers, director of programs at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Marvin King, an Ole Miss political science professor; and Charles Overby will consider whether the subjects of Mississippi’s two statues in a capitol hall for all 50 states are appropriate today.

– March 27, 6 p.m. – “Mississippians Say the Strangest Things.” David Crews of Oxford has compiled a collection, “The Mississippi Book of Quotations,” and will talk with Overby about the new publication, his choices in it and his longtime interest in memorable lines by people from the state.

– April (date to be determined) – “The Free State of Jones.” Retired federal judge Charles Pickering, a native of historic and colorful Jones County, will join Overby and others in a discussion about the breakaway movement during the Civil War, a fascinating piece of Mississippi history that was recently celebrated in books and a movie.

– April 24, 6 p.m. – “Racial Politics in Memphis.” Otis Sanford, an Ole Miss journalism graduate who writes a column for the Commercial Appeal and teaches at the University of Memphis, will talk about his new book, “From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics.”

Westbrook Pledges Major Gift to UM Journalism School

Endowment will support new construction, featuring consumer research lab

Leslie Westbrook visits with (from left) Jason McCormick, development officer for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media; UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter; and Will Norton, UM journalism dean. UM photo by Bill Dabney

Leslie Westbrook visits with (from left) Jason McCormick, development officer for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media; UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter; and Will Norton, UM journalism dean. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – In true Rebel style, University of Mississippi alumna Leslie Westbrook bucked the confines of her generation and became one of the nation’s most successful consumer market specialists with Fortune 500 clients.

“Like all good Southern ladies in that era, I planned to marry my college sweetheart and teach school,” said Westbrook, a Jackson native who was named Miss Ole Miss in 1968. “I was to start the family and add to it the station wagon and dogs. Well, I cancelled the Big Fat Southern Wedding.”

Instead, she landed a job in Procter & Gamble’s Market Research Department and left Mississippi for Cincinnati. The bachelor’s degree in education that Westbrook earned from UM in 1968 would have served her well for teaching, but she required weeks of on-the-job training for her new career as a consumer research specialist and marketing strategist.

“There is a great need to offer extensive consumer research training to students who are majoring in integrated marketing communications through the Meek School of Journalism and New Media,” Westbrook said.

Determined to see students adequately prepared to enter her profession, Westbrook has pledged $500,000 to the university. The Leslie M. Westbrook Journalism Quasi Endowment will ultimately support the construction of a new consumer research laboratory bearing Westbrook’s name.

“Leslie is very generously giving for an area to which she devoted her entire professional life,” said Will Norton, UM journalism dean. “She’s basically saying how thankful she has been for her Ole Miss education and that she wants first-class opportunities that will enable students to prepare for a similar career.

“This is the first major gift for the new building, and it means a great deal to have such a significant kickoff.”

Westbrook said she has discussed the school’s needs with Norton and Meek School namesake Ed Meek over the past couple of years.

Leslie Westbrook instructs students at the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media. UM photo by Bill Dabney

Leslie Westbrook instructs students at the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media. UM photo by Bill Dabney

Besides providing financial support, she participates in faculty support, teaching a Global Brands course during May intersession and co-teaching, guest lecturing and meeting with students several other times a year. She also serves on the board of the university’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

“We found the perfect fit,” she said. “Everything that I learned and put into practice in my career is taught in IMC over the course of the four-year program.

“I can speak from actual experience, from the business world, about how IMC can be utilized in a career and with a wider variety of choices: consumer research, marketing, branding, public relations, advertising, writing and more.”

In class, Westbrook often shares case studies from her work with such brands as Pringles, Pampers, Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee and the Dairy Queen Blizzard.

“I love my time back at Ole Miss, passing it forward, interacting with students,” she said. “If I can impact even one student, I am fulfilled.”

Westbrook’s gift will benefit the university community and beyond, Meek said.

“Leslie’s gift will represent the beginning of a major campaign to build a new building and dramatically expand the reach of the Meek School,” Meek said, adding that Westbrook enjoyed an extraordinary career in corporate practice nationwide. “Her focus is a unique laboratory that will create tremendous instructional, research and service opportunities for students and faculty

After Procter & Gamble, Westbrook joined New Product Insights, a nationally revered new product consulting firm in Kansas City, Missouri, where she practiced qualitative research as a marketing strategist for seven years before starting her own company in Easton, Maryland. During her career, she met with many Fortune 500 companies which later became clients of Leslie M. Westbrook & Associates Inc.

For the past 20 years, she has lived on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay near Washington, D.C., with her husband, Paolo Frigerio of Milan, Italy.

“The loyalty, support and dedication of our alumni like Leslie is a key element to the university’s continued excellence,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Her gift will have a transformative effect on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media as we build for the future.”

The Leslie M. Westbrook Journalism Quasi Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

Overby Event Brings Together Brokaw, Barbour, Ford

Discussions to provide perspective, reactions to presidential debate and campaigns

OXFORD, Miss. – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will host Tom Brokaw, former Gov. Haley Barbour and other notables on Friday (Sept. 30) for spirited political reactions to this week’s presidential debate.

Tom Brokaw delivers the commencement address during this year's graduation activities. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Tom Brokaw delivers the commencement address during this year’s graduation activities. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Brokaw, longtime NBC correspondent and former anchor for “NBC Nightly News”; Andy Lack, president of NBC News; and political notables Barbour and Harold Ford Jr., former Democratic congressman from Memphis, will participate in “Election Countdown” at 6 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium.

The event is part of the Overby Center’s fall series lineup. Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie noted this panel is timed to provide perspective on the first presidential debate of 2016, held Monday at Hofstra University.

“This may be the best lineup of programs we’ve had in the 10-year history of the Overby Center,” Wilkie said. “Coming on the same week as the first presidential debate, we hope the programs will bring some of the political drama back to Oxford that we enjoyed in 2008 when Ole Miss hosted the first presidential debate.”

Lack and Brokaw are no strangers to Ole Miss. Lack, who has ancestors from Greenville, is one of the founders of Mississippi Today, an online news source launched earlier this year that is also cosponsor of the event. He is a strong supporter of UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Brokaw, one of the best-known faces on TV, was UM’s 2016 Commencement speaker. He first came to Ole Miss 16 years ago – for a friend’s birthday party in connection with an Ole Miss game – and he and members of his family have returned repeatedly over the years.

Barbour, a two-term governor of Mississippi, remains one of the dominant figures on the national GOP scene. Before winning office in 2003, he served as national chairman of the party and worked in President Ronald Reagan’s White House. He is a lobbyist in Washington and Jackson.

Former Gov. Haley Barbour remains one of the dominant figures on the national GOP scene. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Former Gov. Haley Barbour remains one of the dominant figures on the national GOP scene. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Ford, a member of the most prominent Democratic family in Memphis, served five terms in Congress. Though he works on Wall Street, Ford – like Barbour – still holds major clout in his party and often appears as a guest commentator on national TV programs.

Other events on the schedule will feature discussions on the civil rights movement, UM students who worked on projects in Africa and also among Mississippi’s Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, and other topics.

Here’s a rundown of the remaining Overby fall series events, all of which will be in the Overby Center auditorium:

– Oct. 11, 6 p.m. – “Mississippi Freelance” an irreverent monthly that poked fun at Mississippi politicians and exposed many irregularities 50 years ago, will be fondly remembered by its founders, Lew Powell and Ed Williams, Ole Miss graduates who went on to careers at the Charlotte Observer.

– Oct. 14, 9 a.m. – “The Embassy,” a new book about earlier turmoil in Liberia, will be discussed by its author, Dante Paradiso, an American Foreign Service officer posted to its capital, Monrovia, at the time.

– Oct. 19, 8 p.m. – “The Last Debate” will be shown on the Overby Center screen, to be followed by a public discussion.

– Oct. 27, 2:30 p.m. – “Mississippi Indians” will be discussed by Overby fellow Bill Rose and students on his team in the latest in-depth reporting assignment, an annual course that has produced a series of prize-winning magazines.

– Nov. 1, 6 p.m. – “The March Against Fear,” James Meredith’s idea that led to an assassination attempt on him and a fractious finish by competing civil rights leaders in 1966, will be recalled on its 50th anniversary by Aram Goudsouzian, author of “Down to the Crossroads” a book about the march, UM political science professor Marvin King, Overby and Wilkie.

– Nov. 2, 6 p.m. – “Ole Miss in Africa” will feature UM journalism students who traveled earlier this year to Zimbabwe and Namibia on a photo expedition and study of wildlife management.

– Nov. 15, 6 p.m. – “The Outcome” of the 2016 presidential campaign – and its impact on the future of the two major parties – will be the subject for a final discussion.

Symposium to Highlight Eggleston Exhibit at UM Museum

Panel discussions to examine photographer's influence and experiences

Eggleston’s work is now on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.

Eggleston’s work is on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit ‘The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.’

OXFORD, Miss – “The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston” presented by the University of Mississippi Museum features 36 works from the fine art photographer in an exclusive exhibition of the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibition, sponsored by Friends of the Museum, runs through Jan. 14, 2017. The public is invited to an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

To further highlight Eggleston’s remarkable color and black-and-white photographs, the museum will host a symposium Oct. 7 at UM’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, featuring notable panelists across different disciplines.

“The University of Mississippi Museum and the Friends of the Museum are exceptionally pleased to present this convening of distinguished panelists and scholars, offering an exploration of the career and influence of the extraordinary William Eggleston,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director.

The first panel at 10 a.m. will feature William Ferris, Maude Schuyler Clay and Megan Abbott, with Lisa Howorth as moderator. The second panel, at 2 p.m., with Ferris as moderator, will feature Emily Ballew Neff, Richard McCabe and Kris Belden-Adams.

The morning panel will approach Eggleston and his work from a perspective of those who have known him personally and have been significantly influenced by his images, Saarnio said.

“Enriched by anecdotes and personal reflections, the panel’s content will include consideration of formative influences and experiences, career highlights and the longitudinal development of an artist, as evidenced by this particular life in visual art and image-making,” he said.

“The afternoon panel will focus on the body of work across Eggleston’s career, with content including the influence of the work on the field of photography, its influence on other artistic and creative fields, the evolution of critical reception to Eggleston, how the work has had shifting meaning over time, and the meaning of the work today to contemporary audiences and contemporary practitioners.”

Howorth, a native of Washington, D.C., has called Oxford home since 1972. She and husband Richard Howorth opened Square Books in Oxford in 1979. After earning master’s degrees in library science and art history, she worked at Ole Miss as a reference librarian and an associate professor of art and Southern studies. She is editor of “The South: A Treasury of Art and Literature” and other books on Southern culture, writes for Garden & Gun and Oxford American magazines, and published “Flying Shoes,” a novel, in 2014.

Ferris is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South and a history professor at the University of North Carolina. He is also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at UM, where he served as a faculty member for 18 years. A longtime friend of William Eggleston and a collector of his work, Ferris donated all pieces that are on display at the UM Museum. He has written or edited 10 books and will sign his new photography book, “The South in Color,” inspired by Eggleston, at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at Square Books

Acclaimed photographer, first cousin and Eggleston protege Clay served as a consulting adviser for the exhibition. In 2015, Clay’s own photography collection of portraits titled “Mississippi History” was produced by German photo book publisher Steidl. The publisher discovered her photographs while working with Eggleston on the multivolume set “Chrome” (2011) and “Los Alamos Revisited” (2012). Clay was the 2015 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Visual Arts.

Detroit native and author Abbott also guest curated the exhibition. As the former John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence, she has drawn her own inspiration from Eggleston’s work. Abbott is an Edgar Award-winning author for her novels “Queenpin,” “The Song Is You,” “Die a Little,” “Bury Me Deep,” “The End of Everything” and “Dare Me.” Her latest novel, “The Fever,” was chosen as one of the best books of the summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the best books of the year by several media outlets.

Neff , executive director of the Memphis Brooks Museum, spent nearly 20 years as curator of American painting and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, where she organized numerous major exhibitions. Neff also served as director and chief curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma.

McCabe, curator of photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, has curated more than 30 exhibitions and is also a photographer whose work has been the subject of several exhibitions. He has also taught photography courses at Xavier University in New Orleans, the Pratt Institute in New York, Montclair State Institute in New Jersey and Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Belden-Adams, an assistant professor of art and art history at UM, earned a doctorate in modern and contemporary art history, specializing in the history of photography, at the City University of New York. Additionally, she earned an master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Belden-Adams is the editor of the book “Photography and Failure” (2017). Her scholarly work in art history and photography has been published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many journals.

Overby Center’s Fall Lineup Includes Brokaw, Barbour and Mabus

Slate focuses on upcoming elections as well as race and history

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, internationally respected journalist Tom Brokaw and other notables make up the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics' fall programs schedule, which begins with a talk by Mabus Friday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, internationally respected journalist Tom Brokaw and other notables make up the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics’ fall programs schedule, which begins Friday with a talk by Mabus.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will host 10 programs featuring well-known media members and political heavyweights, the first of which begins Friday (Sept. 16) and continues as momentum builds toward the presidential election.

The fall series begins with a speciadl appearance by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at 6 p.m. Friday at the Overby Center.

Other programs include Tom Brokaw, longtime NBC correspondent; former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who also served chair of the Republican National Committee; Andy Lack, president of NBC News; and Stuart Stevens, a Mississippian who managed Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Two programs include UM students who worked on projects in Africa and also among Mississippi’s Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes.

The fall offerings include a diverse set of speakers, said Charles Overby, chairman of the center.

“The fall lineup of programs ranges from serious to quirky, with a great array of interesting, accomplished personalities,” Overby said.

For the first program, Mabus will talk with Overby about his career. The Ackerman native, who graduated from Ole Miss in 1969, has a distinguished record of public service that may be matched by only one other Mississippian in history, 19th century statesman L.Q.C. Lamar. Mabus has served as state auditor, governor, U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and as secretary of the Navy for the past eight years.

A reception follows the discussion.

The rich variety of speakers complement the university’s journalism programs, but also will draw attendance from the Oxford community, said Curtis Wilkie, UM Cook Chair and associate professor of journalism. The broad spectrum of guests is by design, he said.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, right, an Ole Miss graduate and former governor, will open the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics fall programs schedule with an appearance there Friday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. Photo by Robert Jordan

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, right, an Ole Miss graduate and former governor, will open the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics’ fall programs schedule with an appearance at 6 p.m. Friday. Photo by Robert Jordan

“We also want to emphasize an important word at Ole Miss: diversity, so that the programs and panelists are not dominated by a bunch of old white guys pontificating but deal straight-up with race, still a critical issue in our state,” Wilkie said.

There’s also an emphasis on attracting opposing political ideologies to enrich the discussion, he said.

“We try to be scrupulously nonpartisan, inviting guests from all kinds of political backgrounds,” Wilkie said. “We hope we’re provocative and provide the kind of commentary that would have been forbidden on this campus 50 years ago – when I was a student – and political forces in Mississippi imposed a ‘speakers ban’ at Ole Miss, which denied a forum to forbidden voices.”

Overby and Wilkie, who were journalists during the civil rights movement, will also appear on a panel Nov. 1 with political science professor Marvin King to discuss James Meredith’s “March Against Fear” in 1966. The discussion also features Aram Goudsouzian, author of “Down to the Crossroads” a book about the march.

Meredith was the first black student to enroll at Ole Miss, which sparked deadly rioting in 1962, and four years later he was shot while protesting segregation by walking through Mississippi. The talk comes on the 50th anniversary of Meredith’s march.

“The civil rights movement of 1966 was different than in earlier years,” King said. “Decreased harmony, fraying of purpose and less solidarity marked 1966, and the Meredith march exemplified all this tension. Our panel will highlight this tension through focus on the Meredith march.”

All Overby Center events are free and open to the public, and arrangements are being made to provide parking for all evening programs this fall. Parking for guests will be available in the lot next to the Overby Center for the duration of the event. With the exception of a Sept. 30 forum at Nutt Auditorium, events will be held at the Overby Auditorium.

Here’s a rundown of the discussions that follow Mabus’ talk Friday:

— Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 6 p.m. – “A Critical Eye on the Campaign” with Stuart Stevens, a leading Republican consultant who has been outspoken in his condemnation of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

– Sept. 30, 6 p.m., Nutt Auditorium – “Election Countdown” with Lack and Brokaw of NBC News, along with special guest Barbour. The political discussion will be moderated by Maggie Wade from Jackson’s NBC affiliate. The program is co-sponsored by Mississippi Today, the state’s online news operation.

– Oct. 11, 6 p.m. – “Mississippi Freelance” an irreverent monthly that poked fun at Mississippi politicians and exposed many irregularities 50 years ago, will be fondly remembered by its founders, Lew Powell and Ed Williams, Ole Miss graduates who went on to careers at the Charlotte Observer.

– Oct. 14, 9 a.m. – “The Embassy,” a new book about earlier turmoil in Liberia, will be discussed by its author, Dante Paradiso, an American Foreign Service officer posted to its capital, Monrovia, at the time.

– Oct. 19, 8 p.m. – “The Last Debate” will be shown on the Overby Center screen, to be followed by a public discussion.

– Oct. 27, 2:30 p.m. – “Mississippi Indians” will be discussed by Overby fellow Bill Rose and students on his team in the latest in-depth reporting assignment, an annual course that has produced a series of prize-winning magazines.

– Nov. 1, 6 p.m. – “The March Against Fear,” James Meredith’s idea that led to an assassination attempt on him and a fractious finish by competing civil rights leaders in 1966, will be recalled on its 50th anniversary by Goudsouzian, King, Overby and Wilkie.

– Nov. 2, 6 p.m. – “Ole Miss in Africa” will feature UM journalism students who traveled earlier this year to Zimbabwe and Namibia on a photo expedition and study of wildlife management.

– Nov. 15, 6 p.m. – “The Outcome” of the 2016 presidential campaign – and its impact on the future of the two major parties – will be the subject for a final discussion.

UM Journalism School Wins Third Kennedy Award

Depth reporting class exposé on 50th anniversary of Voting Rights Act winner in college category

University of Mississippi student Mollie Mansfield, right, interviews civil rights activist and business owner Vernice Sanders, center, with Professor Bill Rose at Vernice's Upholstery in Leland, Miss., Tuesday, March 11, 2014. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

University of Mississippi student Mollie Mansfield, right, interviews civil rights activist and business owner Vernice Sanders, center, with Professor Bill Rose at Vernice’s Upholstery in Leland on March 11, 2014. Photo by Thomas Graning

OXFORD, Miss. – For the third time in seven years, the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi has won an annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award.

UM’s depth reporting class won in the college category for “Land of Broken Promises.” The exposé examines the impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the Mississippi Delta 50 years later.

The winning project was led by Willard “Bill” Rose, visiting professor and a fellow of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics; Mikki Harris, assistant professor; and Darren Sanefski, assistant professor of multiple platform journalism.

“Winning the Kennedy Award for college journalism is a testament to the quality of teaching by Mikki Harris, Bill Rose and Darren Sanefski,” said Will Norton Jr., professor and dean of the journalism school. “These three individuals have demonstrated repeatedly that they are uncommonly effective, student-oriented teachers. We are grateful to have professionals of their caliber on our faculty in the Meek School.”

Twenty-seven students spent spring break 2014 conducting interviews and photographing images for the 132-page, four-color magazine. It was published and distributed in January 2015.

Students who worked on the project included Eliza McClure, Debra Whitley, Erin Scott, Jason Burleson, Logan Kirkland, Thomas Graning, Clancy Smith, Katie Adcock, Karson Brandenburg, Phil McCausland, Cady Herring, Phillip Waller, Mary Marge Locker, Kayleigh Skinner, Alex Edwards, Allison Moore, Mollie Mansfield, Christina Cain, Taylor Davenport, Kristen Ellis, Conner Hegwood, Jessica Hotakainen, Lauren Keossian, Ignacio Murillo, Savannah Pounds, Kimberly Sanner, Madisen Theobald and Ellen Whitaker.

Three reporters both wrote and captured photographs. One worked on the design and captured photographs, and four were dedicated to photojournalism for the project.

“This was a wonderful and unique opportunity for our journalism students to work as multimedia journalists in a very diverse setting,” Rose said. “It’s one of the things I love about working here. Students who are driven to be the best can get opportunities here they won’t get at other journalism schools.”

The project focused primarily on documenting the work of activists in the civil rights movement and their struggles to help people in impoverished areas register and vote in local, state and national elections.

“These students tracked down civil rights legends Andrew Young and John Lewis and lesser known, but influential, civil rights workers to capture what happened here after the Voting Rights Act was passed,” Rose said. “They tackled the tough conversations on race and did it impressively.”

The result was a print depth report produced to raise awareness of this community.

The award is nice, but the experience with the students is the best reward, Harris and Sanefski agreed.

“We used a significant number of archival photos to tell a visual story of major events that happened in the past,” said Harris, who edited the photos to fit the written stories. “The process of spending hours looking at the AP’s archive of images was eye-opening and emotional.”

Archival images selected for inclusion in the project showed activist Fanny Lou Hamer speaking to delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in 1964, civil rights leader Lawrence Guyot as a young man in 1963, covered with marks from a police beating, and Martin Luther King, Floyd McKissick and Stokely Carmichael marching together for equality.

“The images from the 1960s provide a visual of the blood, sweat and strength that laid a foundation for today,” Harris said.

Sanefski’s digital design students spent more than a semester designing the award-winning publication.

“We were not able to accomplish it in one semester, so me and three other students from that class wrapped it up early the next semester,” Sanefski said. “Design is always about making content easier to understand. I’m very proud of my students and all the students who have pooled their talents together to create a great product.”

The journalism school has won previous RFK Awards for magazines on poverty in the Delta and attempts to help residents of an island off the coast of Belize.

“Throughout his life, my father held a deep commitment to freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “He would invite reporters and news crews to join him in the most impoverished city neighborhoods, to Indian reservations and communities in Appalachia, California’s Central Valley or rural Indiana – places that often lacked electricity and plumbing – and he would ask the press corps why it wasn’t covering those issues and these places.

“The journalists who followed his ’68 campaign created the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards in his name, to honor those who covered the issues most important to him.”

This year’s Book and Journalism Award winners were chosen from more than 300 submissions. Historian Michael Beschloss chaired the judges’ panel for the 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

The journalism awards ceremony, in its 48th year, will be presented May 25 by Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. All honorees will receive a bust of Robert F. Kennedy in recognition of their award.

For more information about the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit http://meek.olemiss.edu.

Oxford Conference for the Book Brings Variety of Authors to UM

Poets, journalists, scholars and readers coming to campus March 2-4 for free event

Ed Larson

Ed Larson

OXFORD, Miss. – Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, as well as first-time novelists, are part of the variety of legendary and debut writers hosted at the Oxford Conference for the Book, set for March 2-4. Poets, journalists, scholars and readers will visit the University of Mississippi for the 23rd conference.

The three-day event, which is free and open to the public, includes readings, panel discussions and lectures.

The conference is a great way for Oxford visitors and locals to explore the town and the university, said James G. Thomas Jr., conference director.

“We try to open doors with this conference, both literally and metaphorically,” said Thomas, associate director of publications at the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

“By that I mean the sessions open up doors for thought and inquiry, and the venues we’re hav­ing them in are places that some Oxford residents, stu­dents, and visitors may not have had the opportunity to explore, such as the Lafayette County courthouse, the Barksdale-Isom House, the UM library’s Faulkner Room and even the University Museum.”

This year’s writers include novelists Rick Bass, Bobbie Ann Mason, Margaret McMullan, Robert Gipe, Taylor Brown and UM Grisham Writer in Residence Kiese Laymon; Mississippi historians Minion K.C. Morrison and Dennis Mitchell; historian and gender studies scholar LaKisha Michelle Simmons; poets Richard Katrovas, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Caki Wilkinson, Jericho Brown, Katie Peterson, Chiyuma Elliott and UM professors Beth Ann Fennelly and Derrick Harriell; histori­an Mark Essig; literary scholar Vereen Bell; and Pulitzer Prizewinners journalist Sheri Fink and historian Edward J. Larson.

Larson, professor of law at Pepperdine University, is the author of nine books, the most recent of which, “The Return of George Washington,” was on The New York Times bestseller list in 2015. He has lectured on all seven continents.

“I love Oxford, I have been for tailgating in the Grove since back when I was on the University of Georgia’s athletic board and the SEC was a 10-team conference,” Larson said. “Oxford has the best catfish anywhere. What I want to do next in Mississippi is to bike the Natchez Trace.”

Margaret McMullan

Margaret McMullan

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s events will take place in the auditorium of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, and the conference will begin with a lecture and free luncheon, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, in the Faulkner Room in Archives and Special Collections in the J.D. Williams Library, also on the UM campus. Friday’s panels and readings will take place in the main courtroom of the historic Lafayette County courthouse on the Oxford Square.

Lyn Roberts, general manager at Square Books, calls the conference a celebration of books for everyone.

“The Oxford Conference for the Book has a history and tradition of bringing authors, both debut and established, to Oxford and the University of Mississippi, allowing everyone in the community and anyone who wants to travel the opportunity to hear them read from their works and discuss books,” Roberts said.

Conference panels will explore a wide range of topics, in­cluding Mississippi history; childhood in the South; mem­oir writing; youth, activism, and life in the Mountain South; poetic responses to Langston Hughes; Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Go Set a Watchman”; the Hurricane Katrina crisis; America’s continuing debate over science and religion; and a cultural and culi­nary history of the pig.

“I’m excited to introduce Mark Essig to the OCB audience,” said Sara Camp Milam, who will moderate Friday’s 10:30 a.m. panel, sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance. “His work is as engaging as it is educational. ‘Lesser Beasts’ was one of my favorite food studies books of 2015. For students thinking about how to make their academic work accessible to a general audience, I’d recommend attending this session.”

A new event this year is a poetry session paired with an art exhibition by photographer Youngsuk Suh. At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, following the “Poetic Responses to Langston Hughes” session, the University Museum will host a free recep­tion.

“Thacker Mountain Radio” will host a special Oxford Conference for the Book show at 6 p.m. Thursday at Off Square Books, 129 Courthouse Square, featuring conference authors and visiting musicians. The day’s authors will be there to meet conference attendees and sign books. Each afternoon following the sessions, Square Books will host book signings for that day’s authors.

Mark Essig

Mark Essig

The Children’s Book Festival will be held March 4 at the Ford Center for Performing Arts, with more than 1,200 first- and fifth-graders from area schools. Laurie Keller, author of “The Scrambled States of America,” will present at 9 a.m. for first graders, and Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of “Counting by 7s,” will present at 10:30 a.m. for fifth graders. The Lafayette County Literacy Council sponsors the first-grade program and the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford spon­sors the fifth-grade program.

Four special social events are set on the Ole Miss campus and in town. On March 2, the Friends of the J.D. Williams Library will host an opening lunch beginning at 11 a.m. in Archives and Special Collections. The lunch is free, but reservations are appreciated. That evening is the gala opening-night cocktail reception-dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the historic Barksdale-Isom House, 1003 Jefferson Ave. A portion of the $50 ticket proceeds is tax-deductible.

At noon March 4, the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library will host a poetry talk and lunch with poet Richard Katrovas. Both the lunch and talk are free, but reservations are appreciated.

The Oxford Conference for the Book is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Square Books, Southern Documentary Project, Southern Foodways Alliance, Living Blues magazine, University Museum, Lafayette County Literacy Council, UM Department of English, J.D. Williams Library, Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, John and Renée Grisham Visiting Writers Fund, Junior Auxiliary of Oxford, Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library, Southern Literary Trail and the Pulitzer Centennial Campfires Initiative.

The conference is partially funded by the university, a contribution from the R&B Feder Foundation for the Beaux Arts, grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council and promotional support from Visit Oxford.

To see a full schedule of events, visit http://oxfordconferenceforthebook.com/ or contact James G. Thomas Jr. at 662-915-3374 or jgthomas@olemiss.edu.