Douglas A. Blackmon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, spoke Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Sydnor Performance Hall, Schewel Hall. The talk, titled “A Persistent Past: Reckoning with Our Racial History in the Age of Obama,” is sponsored by the John M. Turner Lecture in the Humanities.
His talk was covered by The News & Advance.
His book, a searing examination of how the enslavement of African-Americans persisted deep into the 20th century and profoundly affected current American life, was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.
Slavery by Another Name grew out of Blackmon’s 2001 article on slave labor in The Wall Street Journal. It revealed the use of forced labor by dozens of U.S. corporations and commercial interests in coal mines, timber camps, factories, and farms in cities and states across the South, beginning after the Civil War and continuing until the beginning of World War II.
Blackmon is also co-executive producer of a documentary film based on Slavery by Another Name, broadcast on PBS in the winter of 2012. Directed by distinguished filmmaker Sam Pollard, the film was selected for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Blackmon is chair of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center Forum and a contributing editor at The Washington Post.
Until 2011, Blackmon was the longtime chief of The Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta bureau and the paper’s senior national correspondent. He has written about or directed coverage of some of the most pivotal stories in American life. Overseeing coverage of 11 southeastern states for the Journal, he and his team of reporters were responsible for the paper’s acclaimed coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the failed federal response after that disaster, as well as its investigation into the training and preparations of the 9/11 hijackers in Florida, immigration, poverty, politics, and daily reporting on more than 2,500 corporations based in the region.
As a writer and editor at large, Blackmon led the Journal’s coverage of the rise of the tea party and the final hours before the BP oil spill — for which he and a team of other Journal writers were finalists for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Those stories received a Gerald Loeb Award in June 2011.