Award-Winning Journalist Soledad O’Brien Addresses Campus Feb. 24

Observance includes films, panel discussions and keynote address by sociology professor Barbara Combs

Soledad O’Brien

OXFORD, Miss. – Renowned former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien is a featured speaker as the University of Mississippi observes Black History Month in February.

The award-winning journalist, documentarian and producer delivers a public address at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Sponsors include the Black History Month Committee, UM Athletics Association, Lecture Series, Office of the Provost, Multicultural Affairs/Office of the Dean of Students, Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.

“Soledad O’Brien’s work complements the continued efforts of the university to stimulate healthy conversations on race and questions of identity,” said Valeria Ross, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs and volunteer services. “Her experience with reporting breaking news from around the world and her global perspective should provide all in attendance to the keynote event with a memorable experience.”

Barbara Combs, UM assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, will deliver the keynote address at the month’s kickoff event, set for noon Feb. 4 in the Ole Miss Student Union lobby. She will discuss the celebration of diversity and culture at the university. The UM Gospel Choir will perform and the Lift Every Voice Awards will be presented.

O’Brien was the originator of “Black in America” and “Latino in America.” Last June, she launched Starfish Media Group, a multiplatform media production and distribution company dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories about often-divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity. She also joined Harvard University as a distinguished fellow and was appointed to the board of directors of the foundation for The National Archives.

O’Brien’s honors include two Emmy Awards for her 2012 election coverage and special report “Kids on Race,” and two George Foster Peabody awards for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Gulf Coast oil spill. She also received the celebrated Cine Award for documentaries and journalist of the year from the National Association of Black Journalists, and made Newsweek magazine’s “10 People Who Make America Great” listing.

Combs earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Xavier University, a Juris Doctor from Ohio State University and a doctorate from Georgia State University. She is the author of “From Selma to Montgomery: The Long March to Freedom.” Combs’ interdisciplinary research includes race and ethnicity, urban sociology, social movements and the role of religion as an agent of change.

Other Black History Month dates and events scheduled include:

–          Feb. 3, 7, 10 and 12: Diversity Skills Training, noon in Butler Auditorium;

–           Feb. 7-9: 11th Annual Oxford Film Festival at Malco Oxford Commons and Oxford Conference Center;

–          Feb. 10: Film Screening: “The Loving Story,” 6 p.m. in Oxford-Lafayette County Public Library;

–          Feb. 11: Brown Bag: “Race and Space: Responses to The Loving Story,” noon in Faulkner Room of J.D. Williams Library;

–          Feb. 11: Lecture: Craig Wilder, chair of the MIT Department of History, 7 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium;

–          Feb. 12: Film Screening: “The Loving Story,” 6 p.m. in Room 106-D of J.D. Williams Library;

–          Feb. 13: “A Red Carpet Affair: A Celebration of Yesterday, Today and Forever,” 6 p.m. at The Inn at Ole Miss;

–          Feb. 19: Overby Center for Southern Journalism & Politics Panel Discussion: The Voting Rights Act of 1965, 11 a.m. in Overby Center Auditorium;

–          Feb. 24: Isom Center Brown Bag: “What’s It Like Being a Lesbian in the South?” by Danielle Kerr, UM graduate sociology student, noon in Faulkner Room of J.D. Williams Library;

–          Feb. 25: Multicultural Dialogue Session: Rap[ped] Up in American Culture with Bryan Cooper Owens, instructor of African-American Studies; and Timothy Abram, senior Public Policy Leadership student; 2 p.m. in Union 405;

–          Feb. 25: Black History Month Concert, 7:30 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium.

For a complete schedule of UM Black History Month events, contact Valeria Ross at 662-915-7247 or