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January 19, 2013

Pulitzer Prize winner to speak about race relations, diversity

MUNCIE — One of the nation's most remarkable storytellers and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for commentary on the 2008 presidential election will speak on modern race relations in America Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Ball State University.

Newspaper columnist and television political commentator Eugene Robinson — known for having the ear of the insiders of the nation's capital — will explain why old conceptions of race in America are obsolete during a presentation as part of the campus' Unity Week events and in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The author of "Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America," Robinson will provide a compelling look at race relations and diversity in modern times at 7:30 p.m. in Pruis Hall.

Born in 1955 in segregated South Carolina, Robinson will recall the civil rights movement when he was a black student at a predominantly white high school. He will speak to the progress that African-Americans have made and show that much remains in educating people that race is ultimately meaningless — except as an artifact of society. Robinson relies on a large and varied tool kit: energy, curiosity, elegant writing and the wide-ranging experience of a life that took him from childhood to the heights of American journalism.

Robinson has spent more than 30 years with The Washington Post, where he writes a twice-weekly column, and provides political commentary on television news programs, including MSNBC’s “Hardball,” “The Rachel Maddow Show” and NBC's “Meet the Press.”

In 2009, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president.

Unity Week events, which are free and open to the public, begin Jan. 21 with the Martin Luther King Jr. community breakfast at 9 a.m. in the Pittenger Student Center, Cardinal Hall. This year's theme for the week is "Remembering the past, uniting the present, dreaming for our future."

Other Unity Week events include:

• MLK Day of Service: Jan. 21 (sponsored by Student Voluntary Services)

• Community Job Fair: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 21, Student Center, Browsing Lounge

• Resume and interview skills workshop: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Jan. 21, Student Center, Forum Room

• MLK Unity March: 4 p.m. Jan. 21, Ball State Multicultural Center

• "I Am …" (photo shoot) and "Before I Die I …" (wall): 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 23, Student Center, Tally food court.

• Great Explorations (Students will participate in the simulation of oppression of various cultural groups.): 7-9 p.m. Jan. 23, Student Center, Ballroom.  

• Game night (Various multicultural groups will facilitate games associated with their culture.): 7-9 p.m. Jan. 24, Student Center, Halls A and C

• Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Concert: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24, Sursa Hall

• Latinopalooza (Latino Student Union will sponsor a showcase of talents of Ball State students.): 6-8 p.m. Jan. 25, Pruis Hall.

• Diversity symposium: 1-4 p.m. Jan. 26,  Student Center, Multipurpose Room

• Unity Pageant (crowning Miss and Mr. Unity): 7 p.m. Jan. 26, Pruis Hall

Unity Week is sponsored by the Office of Student Life, Asian American Student Association, Black Student Association, Latino Student Union and Spectrum, along with the Multicultural Center, Student Government Association, Caribbean Student Association, Afghan Student Union, Student Association of Bangladesh, Call to Action, University Program Board, Office of Institutional Diversity and the Division of Student Affairs at Ball State.

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