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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication
Oct. 23, 1997

Conference emphasizes that racism, poverty, inequality must not be ignored

Noon Monday, Oct. 27: William Winter, member, President's Initiative on Race
Former Govenor of Mississippi
William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center

8:30 p.m. Monday. Oct. 27: 'Journalists on Race, Poverty and Inequality in the South'
Memorial Hall, Cameron Avenue

Panel and small group discussions
2:15-5:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27 and
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28
William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center

Concluding address 'The Higher Vision'
Elaine R. Jones, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28
William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center

“Unfinished Business: Overcoming Racism, Poverty and Inequality in the South,” a convocation of some 180 scholars and leaders Oct. 27-28 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will seek ways to return the issues of racism, poverty and inequality to the center of the American agenda.

The event anticipates the 50th anniversary of “To Secure These Rights,” the report of the Truman Civil Rights Commission published Oct. 29, 1947. It will lead to four more similar convocations of 100-150 next spring and summer. Tentative locations are Atlanta, the Mississippi Delta, Memphis and New Orleans. Then, in a November 1998 summit in Birmingham, some 2,000 scholars and leaders, including participants in the earlier conferences, will set an action agenda against racism, poverty and inequality.

Sponsoring the convocations with UNC-CH's Center for the American South is the Jessie Ball duPont Fund of Jacksonville, Fla., which funds causes supported by the late duPont of the prominent Delaware family. Co-sponsoring are the Southeastern Council of Foundations, which facilitates communication among philanthropic investors in the South; the Southern Regional Council, which addresses racism and poverty; and the Southern Education Foundation, which promotes education in the South.

The conferences seek not to duplicate work of the new President's Initiative on Race but to supplement the effort by providing a Southern view of challenges facing the nation.

The convocation will include a panel discussion that is free and open to the public at 8:30 p.m. Monday (Oct. 27) in Memorial Hall, titled "Journalists on Race, Poverty and Inequality in the South."

Panelists will be:

John Egerton, Nashville freelance writer, author of books on the South including “Speak Now Against the Day,” describing people and events that led to the civil rights movement in the South.

James Muhammad, editor, The Final Call, a black-issues newspaper published in Chicago by the Nation of Islam.

Deborah Potter, former correspondent with CBS and CNN, faculty member, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Chuck Stone, UNC-CH Walter Spearman Professor of journalism and mass communication and former senior editor, Philadelphia Daily News

Larry Tarleton, editor, The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.

Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor, the Atlanta Constitution

Scheduled panelist Tom Wicker, retired columnist of The New York Times, has canceled due to scheduling conflicts.

Convocation participants will be grass-roots leaders, policy specialists, media representatives, politicians and community investors. Among participants will be N.C. Sen. Martha Bedell Alexander (D-Mecklenberg); Dr. George Bedell, Episcopal priest, trustee, Jessie Ball duPont Fund of Gainesville, Fla.; Latosha Brown, 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, Selma, Ala.; Paul Essex, executive director, Southern Growth Policies Board, Research Triangle Park; Paul Gaston, Southern Regional Council, University of Virginia history professor, expert on the history of race relations.

Also among participants: Dr. Trudier Harris, J. Carlyle Sitterson professor of English, UNC-CH, expert on black literature; Curtis Gatewood, director, NAACP region based in Durham; Wendy Johnson, executive director, Southern Regional Council, Atlanta; Martin Lehfeldt, Atlanta, president-elect, Southeastern Council of Foundations; Alan McGregor, Asheville, Southern Rural Development Initiative; Anne Firor Scott, professor of history, Duke University, expert on women in the South; Beverly Watts, executive director, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; and Jesse L. White Jr., federal co-chairman, Appalachian Regional Commission.

Media access: Unlimited.

Location: All events except the Monday night (Oct. 27) panel discussion in Memorial Hall will be in the William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center off N.C. 54 east of U.S. 15-501. Parking is available.

Background: Copies of news releases announcing the event and its purpose will be available Monday (Oct. 27) at the convocation entrance.

Broadcasters: Audio feeds will be available for William Winter's address Monday (Oct. 27) and the panel discussion Monday night. Broadcasters with other needs should call Karen Moon at 962-2091.

Panel discussion parking: Park in the Swain lot on the north side of Cameron Avenue near South Columbia Street. Cross Cameron and walk east to Memorial Hall. Enter the backstage door on the east side of the building beside the parking lot booth. Broadcasters with heavy equipment may unload beside Memorial before moving vehicles to the Swain lot.

Transportation, lodging: Shuttle buses will transport participants and media between convocation sites and to and from these hotels, which offer special rates for the convocation: Carolina Inn, 800-962-8519 or 919-933-2001; Omni Chapel Hill Hotel, 1-800-843-6664 or 919-968-4900; Siena Hotel, 1-800-223-7379 or 919-929-4000.

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Note: Conference organizer David Moltke-Hansen, director, Center for the Study of the American South, can be reached at 919-962-5665; conference organizer Ferrel Guillory, director of the UNC-CH Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life, can be reached at 919-962-5936.

News Services contacts: print, Laura J. Toler; broadcast, Karen Moon