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Douglas Blackmon
Douglas Blackmon


NYS Writers Institute, September 24, 2009
3:30 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library
7:30 p.m. Reading | Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave., Albany


Douglas Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize winner for nonfiction for “Slavery by Another Name,” about the re-enslavement of Black Americans after the Civil War, will speak on Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME] at the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue, Albany. Earlier that same day at 3:30 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME] the author will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Friends of the Albany Public Library, and are free and open to the public.


Douglas Blackmon,
journalist and historian, received the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction for “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II” (2008). The book reveals how American corporations— particularly the coal, steel, timber, railroad, turpentine and brick industries— benefited from wage-free black convict labor for almost a century. Flimsy charges and petty offenses, including gambling, loitering and even “bastardy,” were used to justify arrest and imprisonment in Southern states that profited enormously from leasing convicts to the private sector. “Convict slaves” were not only shackled, but frequently beaten and worked to death.

Slavery by Another Name

In awarding the prize, the Pulitzer committee called the book, “a precise and eloquent work that examines a deliberate system of racial suppression and that rescues a multitude of atrocities from virtual obscurity.” Writing in the “New York Times,” Janet Maslin said, “Douglas A. Blackmon eviscerates one of our schoolchildren’s most basic assumptions: that slavery in America ended with the Civil War…. The torment that Mr. Blackmon catalogs is, if anything,understated here. But it loudly and stunningly speaks for itself.” The “Chicago Tribune” reviewer called it, “An astonishing book. . . . It will challenge and change your understanding of what we were as Americans— and of what we are.”

Over the course of the last 20 years Blackmon, a native of Mississippi, has frequently written about matters of race and business for the “Wall Street Journal,” the “Atlanta Journal-Constitution” and the “Arkansas Democrat.” In 2000, he received special recognition from the National Association of Black Journalists for his exposé of the role of J. P. Morgan & Co. in channeling monetary support from northern white supremacists to segregationists in the South during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Blackmon currently serves as Atlanta bureau chief of the “Wall Street Journal.” Under his leadership, the bureau received a National Headliner Award for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

The author’s father Robert Blackmon lives in Troy, NY. A painter whose work has been exhibited throughout the Capital Region, Robert Blackmon is the former director of the Center for Forestry Research and Development at the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse.

The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Friends of the Albany Public Library.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.