Pulitzer Prize-winning author to speak Monday at Mercer

A Pulitzer Prize-winning author will give a public lecture at Mercer University on Monday.

Douglas Blackmon, a senior national correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and that publication’s former Atlanta bureau chief, won the award in 2009 for his book “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.”

He will discuss the topic “A Persistent Past: Reckoning with a Troubled Racial History in the Age of Obama” at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Science and Engineering Building. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In “Slavery by Another Name,” Blackmon chronicles the plight of blacks who were forced to perform unpaid labor as convicts under laws designed to oppress them, even after slavery was outlawed in the U.S.

Many, for instance, were forced to work for large companies, such as U.S. Steel Corp., according to a summary on Blackmon’s Web site for the book.

David Davis, an assistant professor of English at Mercer who coordinated the event, assigned Blackmon’s book to students in his course this semester exploring criminal punishment in the South.

“We’re extremely excited to have him come to campus,” Davis said. “It’ll be an exciting event for Mercer and the Macon community.”

Davis said Blackmon’s writing helps brings attention to a chapter of American history that is unfamiliar to many.

“The topic we’re discussing is so present and so quickly forgotten,” Davis said.

In addition to working at The Wall Street Journal, Blackmon has also worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Arkansas Democrat and the Daily Record in Little Rock, Ark., according to his online biography.

To contact Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.