Center for Southern Studies to Welcome Pulitzer Prize Winner Hank Klibanoff for Inaugural Laurie Byington Lecture


MACON – Mercer University's Center for Southern Studies will host its inaugural Laurie Byington Lecture on the Contemporary South Jan. 19 at 6 p.m., featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hank Klibanoff.

Klibanoff's lecture, titled “Shot Dead in Macon: A Georgia Civil Rights Cold Case,” is free and open to the public and will take place in the Medical School Auditorium.

“I cannot imagine a more suitable speaker than Hank Klibanoff to inaugurate the Laurie Byington Lectures on the Contemporary South,” said Dr. Sarah Gardner, professor of history and director of the Center for Southern Studies. “His work in civil rights cold cases confronts the recent past and has profound implications for our future. The Center is delighted to bring him to Mercer's campus.”

Klibanoff directs the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project, both a class and an ongoing historical and journalistic exploration of the Jim Crow South in which Emory undergraduate students examine Georgia history through the prism of unsolved or unpunished racially-motivated murders that occurred in the state during the modern civil rights era.

His lecture will focus on the shooting death of 17-year-old A.C. Hall by two Macon Police officers on the night of Oct. 13, 1962. The officers returned to duty following a suspension and were never brought to trial despite a coroner's inquest classifying Hall's death as a murder.

Klibanoff joined the faculty at Emory following a career spanning more than 30 years as a reporter and editor at print and online newspapers in Mississippi and at the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He and co-author Gene Roberts won a Pulitzer Prize in history for their book The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation (Knopf, 2007).

Klibanoff serves on the John Chancellor Excellence in Journalism Award Committee at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the advisory board of the National Press Foundation, the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellowships Advisory Board, and the advisory board of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Additionally, he is chairman of the advisory board of VOX Teen Communications, an Atlanta nonprofit youth development organization.

He earned his bachelor's degree at Washington University in St. Louis and his master's degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Both universities have honored him as a distinguished alumnus.

For more information on the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project, visit

About the Center for Southern Studies

Mercer University's Center for Southern Studies examines the complex history and culture of the U.S. South. The Center offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that studies the region from multiple perspectives, including courses in African American studies, English, history, political science and cultural studies.

The Center annually offers its Southern Semester, a unique opportunity for American and international students to learn about and experience the people, history and culture of the U.S. South; hosts the Lamar Lecture Series, the most prestigious scholarly lectures on Southern history, literature and culture; and awards the Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature, which recognizes significant career contribution to Southern writing.