03/30/08 — Pulitzer Prize winner Roberts to speak Friday at WCC

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Pulitzer Prize winner Roberts to speak Friday at WCC

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 30, 2008 2:01 AM

Special to The News-Argus

Wayne County Reads has rescheduled award-winning author Gene Roberts to speak on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College.

He was originally set to appear in February, but inclement weather prevented his travel.

Wayne County native Eugene Leslie "Gene" Roberts Jr., the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation" will talk about his book and link it to this year's Wayne County Reads book selection, "Blood Done Sign My Name" by Tim Tyson.

A reception and book signing will follow the talk. Roberts' book will be available for purchase at $26 for hardback and $14 for paperback, cash or check only.

Roberts is the third major writer Wayne County Reads has brought to the community this year, following Tim Tyson and "Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South" author Trudier Harris.

Like all Wayne County Reads activities, this event is free and open to the public. For information, go to www.waynecountyreads.com.

Roberts was born in Pikeville to a preacher, Eugene L. Roberts Sr. and Margaret Ham Roberts.

After graduating from Goldsboro High School in 1950, he attended Mars Hill College from 1950-52, and earned a degree in journalism in 1954 from the University of North Carolina.

After a stint in the Army, Roberts earned his first official newspaper job working for the Goldsboro News-Argus.

Roberts has written for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Raleigh News & Observer, Detroit Free Press, New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He was awarded a Nieman Fellowship by Harvard University, the National Press Club's "Fourth Estate Award," and finally after leading the Philadelphia Inquirer to 17 Pulitzer Prizes, received his own Pulitzer when The Race Beat, which he authored with Atlanta Journal Constitution Managing Editor Hank Klibanoff, won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2007.

He teaches at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, specializing in classes on writing complex stories, newsroom management and the press' role in the Civil Rights Movement.

He currently lives in New York with his wife, Susan.

Partners in this year's Wayne County Reads include the Arts Council of Wayne County, Mount Olive College, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Wayne Community College, Wayne Country Day School, Wayne County Historical Association, Wayne County Chapter of the UNC Alumni Association, Wayne County Public Library, and Wayne County Public Schools.

Financial support for some events was provided by the Friends of the Library, M and J Foundation, Borden Found-ation and the Frank and Sally Borden Foundation.