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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author to Speak at College on Civil Rights Cold Cases
Posted 02/15/2021 09:03AM

The College of Coastal Georgia's Office of Diversity and Inclusion has partnered with the Coastal Georgia Historical Society to present a lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist, Hank Klibanoff. The lecture will take place virtually on Wednesday, February 17 at 5:30 pm, and will be hosted by J. Quinton Staples II, M.Ed., the College's Director of Diversity Initiatives.

The mission of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is to offer programs that foster the understanding of and respect for cultural differences. When this initiative was launched last year, College President Michelle Johnston began discussions with the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, where she is a board member, on ways to collaborate on programming. Klibanoff's lecture is the first such collaboration, scheduled in February to honor Black History Month. "To work with leaders at the Historical Society like Sherri Jones and Mimi Rogers has been a dream come true for the College as we look for more and more ways to build impactful partnerships in our community."

Hank Klibanoff was managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when he won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History. His prize-winning book was The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation, which he coauthored with Gene Roberts. The Pulitzer was well-deserved recognition of Klibanoff's 35-year career as a journalist.

Klibanoff currently serves as Professor of Practice in the Creative Writing Program at Emory University. Additionally, he is Director of the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project and guides Emory students in the use of investigative reporting to document the real stories behind unsolved racial murders. His students have assisted him in researching and producing "Buried Truths," a podcast on the cold cases. Although not a cold case, the most recent series focused on the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County in February 2020. The podcast is available on most audio platforms.

The local connection to Klibanoff's most recent research led the Society to recommend him to the College as a possible speaker. Klibanoff spoke at the Society's 2016 Chautauqua Lecture Series on the Pulitzer Prize and described his work with Civil Rights cold cases. At that time, he presented the same powerful lecture to American history students at Glynn Academy and Brunswick High School. Having spoken at Arbery's former high school, Klibanoff recently commented: "I have often wondered if any of Ahmaud's teachers or coaches were in the audience that day... I am now speaking about them on my podcast when I spoke to them not long ago."

The lecture on February 17 will include some of the cold cases that Klibanoff and his students have investigated, as well as his research into the family histories of Arbery and those charged with his murder.

"I am always excited when the College can work with community organizations to explore our collective diversity and shared history," said Staples. "What makes Mr. Klibanoff's lecture exciting is that it invites us to learn from history as a means to improve our communities today. After the lecture, I hope participants walk away with a greater appreciation for how connected all of our stories are."

To register virtually, email A link to the lecture will be emailed back.

Press release written by Sherri Jones of Coastal Georgia Historical Society

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