Linfield welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts

Leonard Pitts, Jr.Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. will speak on the current political environment on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield College. His talk is titled “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Pitts’ column tackles issues related to current events, pop culture, social issues and family life. Syndicated nationally, the column reaches millions of newspaper readers around the country.

Of his six fiction and non-fiction books Pitts’ most recent is the historical novel “Grant Park.” It explores issues of race and events around the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the presidential election of Barack Obama. His first novel, “Before I Forget,” was published in 2009 to critical praises. In 2012 he wrote “Freeman,” a novel set during the Civil War.

Pitts wrote a memoir/social study, “Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood,” in 1999. A collection of his columns, “Forward From This Moment,” was published in 2009. And in 1983 he wrote his first book, “Papa Joe’s Boys, about Michael Jackson and his brothers.

Pitts’ work has appeared in such publications as Musician, Spin, Reader’s Digest and Parenting. He wrote, produced and syndicated “Who We Are,” an award-winning 1988 radio documentary about the history of Black America, and has written and produced numerous other radio programs on subjects as diverse as Madonna and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2004, Pitts was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. In 2009 and 2002, GLAAD Media awarded Pitts the Outstanding Newspaper Columnist award. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award. Other recognitions include the prestigious ASNE Award for Commentary Writing from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Feature of the Year-Columnist award from Editor and Publisher magazine, both in 2001.

Millions of readers were initially introduced to Pitts through a column he penned in response to the 9/11 attacks. His defiant, open letter to the terrorists circulated the globe, generating 30,000 emails, and has since been set to music, reprinted in poster form, and quoted on television and radio.

The lecture honors Black History Month. It is free, open to the public and sponsored by the President’s Office, Diversity Grants Committee, Nicholson Library, Office of Student Affairs, the departments of English, Mass Communication, Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, Theatre and Communication Arts, and the Writing Center.

For more information, contact Brad Thompson, 503-883-2291, bthomps@linfield.edu.