Civil Rights Workers Reunite at Event
Celebrated author John Ehle, whose large body of work includes "The Free Men," the award-winning nonfiction book that chronicles the 1963-64 civil rights movement in Chapel Hill, will be reunited with key players of the historical event at a reception at the Forsyth County Public Library on April 15.
Other notable guests include Quinton Baker, principal consultant of QE Baker Associates in Hillsborough, who was one of the key organizers of the protests; Karen Parker, a copy editor at The Winston-Salem Journal, who was the first African-American female undergraduate at Chapel Hill and whose diary of the events is now archived at the Wilson Library; Wayne King, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist with The Detroit Free Press and The New York Times, who covered the protests as a young editor at The Daily Tar Heel; and Jim Wallace, retired curator of photography for the Smithsonian, whose photographs of the events appear in the book. This panel discussion is free to the public and will be held at 3 p.m. in the central library auditorium at 660 W. Fifth St., Winston-Salem.
"The Free Men" earned Ehle the Mayflower Award for Nonfiction for its controversial coverage of the experiences of a handful of dedicated young students, both black and white, during the 1963-64 civil rights protests in Chapel Hill.
The movement began through the efforts of three young men: two white UNC-CH students, John Dunne, a gifted Morehead Scholar, and Pat Cusick, the grandson of the founder of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama; and Quinton Baker, a student from the all-black North Carolina College in Durham. First published in 1965 by Harper & Row, "The Free Men" is now back in print from local publisher Press 53 with a new afterword by the former editor of The Daily Tar Heel and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wayne King.
"This is no mere record of events--cries and climaxes building one upon another. It is a penetrating study of human personality," wrote Wilma Dykeman in The Chicago Tribune in 1965.
Ehle is the author of 17 books, including "The Land Breakers," which was re-issued last summer by Press 53 and subsequently selected as the community read pick for "On the Same Page."
In November, Press 53 will re-issue the 50th anniversary edition of "Move Over, Mountain," Ehle's first novel, originally published in 1957 and considered to be the first book written by a white novelist that portrayed African-Americans without stereotypes.
Ehle is a member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, and has received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the Thomas Wolfe Prize and the Lillian Smith Award for Southern Fiction. He is also a five-time winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction. He has been recipient of the Mayflower Award, the Governor's Award for Meritorious Service and the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities. He holds honorary doctorates from UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Asheville, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and Berea College.
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