To put an exclamation point on the celebration of Black History Month in February the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at Ole Miss will feature a program next Monday, March 4, at 5:30 p.m. dealing with the work of Carter G. Woodson, an educator, historian and author who was known as the “Father of Black History.”
Leading the discussion will be Burnis R. Morris, the Carter G. Woodson Professor at Marshall University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications who has written a new book on the life of the program’s subject, “Carter G. Woodson: History, The Black Press and Public Relations,” published by University Press of Mississippi.
Joining Morris in the conversation will be Alysia Steele, an assistant professor of journalism at Ole Miss and author of “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.”
For Morris, the event means a return to the campus where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1973 and later served on the journalism faculty at Ole Miss.
According to Morris, Woodson was influential in the early years of the 20th century, enhancing opportunities for black Americans still emerging from the burdens of slavery. “He encouraged newspapers to write about significant African-Americans,” Morris recently told Time magazine. “He believed racial discrimination would be lessened when whites and other races realized that African-Americans also made contributions to the world.”
Woodson created an organization that is now called the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. “Woodson caused a revolution in the teaching of black history on college campuses,” Morris said. He also chose February to be the time to emphasize black history because the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass fell in that month.
The program is the third in the Overby Center’s schedule for the spring. It is free and open to the public, like all of the center’s events. A reception will be held following the program. Free parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the Overby Center Auditorium.