Keynote speaker for Black Heritage Month at Lafayette College is investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell, who helped bring the assassin of civil rights leader Medgar Evers to justice.
Keynote Speaker Jerry Mitchell: “Chasing after the Real Ghosts of Mississippi”

Lafayette College will celebrate Black Heritage Month with guest speakers, film screenings, an art exhibit, and community discussions. All events are free and open to the public.

The month’s keynote talk will be presented by Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter with the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger, whose courageous efforts helped bring to trial the assassin of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 in Lafayette’s Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104.

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In 1989 Mitchell undertook a meticulous review of the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers. His efforts led to the conviction and life sentence of Ku Klux Klan member Byron de la Beckwith. He has since worked to help solve the murders of several other activists from the Civil Rights Era. In 1996, he was portrayed by Jerry Levine in the Rob Reiner film, Ghosts of Mississippi, about the Evers case. He was also featured in The Learning Channel documentary Civil Rights Martyrs (2000) and served as consultant for the Discovery Channel documentary Killed by the Klan (1999). Mitchell is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow. Read more:

“We have organized a robust programming series this year that will have the theme ‘Black Bodies, Black Lives,’” says John McKnight, dean of intercultural development. “We selected this theme as it echoes conversations happening at a national level about historical and contemporary race relations, particularly as related to law enforcement and the justice system.”

An exhibit of works by noted African-American artists who have worked with Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute runs from Jan. 30 through Feb. 20 in the EPI/Riley Temple Gallery of the Portlock Black Cultural Center.

Black Heritage Month events at Lafayette are coordinated by the Office of Intercultural Development and are sponsored by the Africana Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies programs, Association of Black Collegians, EPI, NIA multicultural women’s group, the offices of Gender & Sexuality and Religious & Spiritual Life, and the Department of Religious Studies. For more information, contact Intercultural Development at (610) 330-5320.

Schedule of events:

  • Jan. 29, 8 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104: Ghosts of Mississippi film screening.
  • Feb. 2, 7 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104: “Chasing after the Real Ghosts of Mississippi,” keynote lecture presented by Jerry Mitchell, Investigative Reporter, Clarion-Ledger.
  • Feb. 10, 4:30 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104: “The Ebola Nurse: Quarantining the African Virus.” Lawyer Steven J. Hyman ’62 will discuss his client Kaci Hickox, a nurse for Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone.
  • Feb. 18, 7 p.m., Colton Chapel: Dear White People film screening and post-discussion with writer and director Justin Simien. Free and open to the public.
  • Feb. 21, TBD – Boys and Girls Club of Easton, 1101 Northampton St.: “Easton Lives Matter,” a community discussion with state and local elected officials, police departments.
  • Feb. 25, noon, Skillman Library Gendebein Room – “Doubly Marked in the American Empire,” presented by Rev. Shanell T. Smith, Ph.D., Hartford Seminary.


Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; high resolution photo available online.

Kristine Y. Todaro
Director of Special Projects & Media Relations
Communications Div.
Lafayette College
Easton, Pa. 18042
(610) 330-5119

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