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Leonard Pitts Jr.

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Leonard Pitts Jr., the Pulitzer Prize-winning nationally syndicated columnist, will give the talk, "America's Second Black President: Race, Politics & Obama," at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 24, in Bucknell University's Trout Auditorium.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, continues the popular national speaker series, "The Bucknell Forum: The Citizen & Politics in America." This semester's theme is "Issues of Identity."

Overflow seating will be available in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center.

"Leonard Pitts is one of the most insightful commentators on the significance of race in American politics," said Kim Daubman, associate professor of psychology at Bucknell and a member of The Bucknell Forum Task Force. "His talk promises to provide a fresh perspective on the role of race in the current presidential election."

Rich and resonant commentary
Since 1994, millions of newspaper readers twice a week have sought out the Pulitzer Prize winner's rich and resonant commentary on pop culture, social issues, and family life in a syndicated column that is carried in newspapers across the country, including The Daily Item of Sunbury, Pa.

"What some of us don't understand is that (Barack) Obama is not running a campaign; he is rallying a movement," Pitts said in a recent column. "After seven years of what may go down as the worst presidency ever, after the grime of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, after dreary years of internecine sniping where ideological purity has routinely trumped national interest, Americans want something else. Something higher."

Awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, Pitts was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

First place for commentary
In 1997, he took first place for commentary in newspapers with a circulation of more than 300,000 in the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors' Ninth Annual Writing Awards competition.

The Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the SimonWiesenthalCenter, among others, have honored him. He is a five-time recipient of the National Headliners Award. In 2001, he received the American Society of Newspaper Editors prestigious ASNE Award for Commentary Writing and was named Feature of the Year Columnist by Editor and Publisher magazine.

In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award.

Journalism professor
In 2003 and 2004, Pitts was a visiting professor teaching journalism at HamptonUniversity in Hampton, Va. In 2005-06 he was a journalism professor at OhioUniversity in Athens, Ohio, and at VirginiaCommonwealthUniversity in Richmond, Va.

His book, Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood, was released in May 1999 and was reissued in paperback in June 2006.

Pitts was born and raised in Southern California. Since 1995, he has lived in Bowie, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., with his wife and five children.

The Bucknell Forum
Focusing on major issues in the 2008 presidential election, the Bucknell Forum series features nationally renowned leaders, scholars, and commentators who are examining issues at the forefront of today's national discourse from multi-disciplinary perspectives and a diversity of viewpoints in a model for civil discourse. The series will run through the inauguration of the new U.S. president in January.

NBC newsman Tim Russert was The Bucknell Forum's inaugural speaker in September, followed in October by a panel of national political correspondents from among the country's most influential print, broadcast, and online news sources discussed the role that media play in shaping the presidential election and the issues affecting the race.

In November, the renowned political theorist Benjamin Barber spoke about the challenges facing democracy in America. CNBC-TV "Mad Money" host, best-selling author, and Wall Street investor Jim Cramer in January spoke about "The Capitalist Citizen and Democracy."

Most recently, a panel of distinguished religion experts representing a broad spectrum of thought in February examined "Religion and Politics in America." Best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich gave the talk, "Working for Change: Citizenship and Class in America," March 17.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted March 5, 2008
Updated March 21, 2008
Updated March 24, 2008