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Lectures & Readings

ragsdale lecture series

The Ragsdale Lecture Series brings national speakers to Young Harris College to discuss relevant governmental and political issues. It was established in 1983 by Mr. and Mrs. H.D. Paris to honor Mrs. Paris’ cousin, Warner B. Ragsdale. Ragsdale was a 1917 graduate of Young Harris College who achieved a long and distinguished career in journalism.

From his start in journalism on the staff at local newspapers to his final role as Associate Editor and Political Editor for the U.S. News and World Report, Ragsdale covered every national political convention held by the Republican and Democratic parties from 1928 to 1968. He traveled with Herbert Hoover in his 1928 campaign, with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, 1940 and 1944, and with Harry Truman in 1948. One of his career highlights was his coverage of the Scopes Evolution Trial in Dayton, Tenn., in 1925.

In 1937, he was honored by the National Headliners Club for “best feature story of the year” for his story about Al Capone and the Purple Gang. He served as a part chairman of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Periodic Press Gallery, on which he served from 1949 to 1970. At the time of his death, on Dec. 25, 1986, Ragsdale was engaged in writing “A Century of Presidential Elections, as seen from over the hill and back of the bus.”

Past Lectures

Ndume Olatushani and Anne-Marie Moyes, 2015

Social justice advocates Ndume Olatushani and Anne-Marie Moyes delivered the 2015 Ragsdale Lecture. Wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder in 1985, Olatushani served nearly 28 years in a maximum-security prison. While on Tennessee’s death row, Olatushani completed his GED, earned a paralegal certificate and studied theology. He also taught himself to paint as a way to cope with the death of his mother and the tedium of life behind bars. He began corresponding with Anne-Marie Moyes, a Vanderbilt University Law School graduate who facilitated prison art shows around the country. Together, they spent nearly two decades filing appeals on his behalf. In Dec. 2011, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Olatushani’s murder conviction due to faulty witness testimony. In June 2012, he walked out of prison after accepting an Alford Plea, requiring him to plead guilty to second-degree murder while maintaining his innocence. Three weeks later, he and Moyes were married. Today, Olatushani is a consultant for the Children’s Defense Fund and Moyes is an attorney with the Office of the Federal Public Defender. The couple lives in Nashville, Tenn., with their adopted daughter.

Jim Loring, 2014

Photojournalist, activist and educator Jim Loring's photographic experience spans more than 25 years and 65 worldwide assignments. Loring’s work seeks to tell the human story through universal themes such as healthcare, environmental concern, food and water programs, education, and the challenges of war and conflict. Selected as one of four educators to revise the photography standards for Georgia, Loring currently teaches photojournalism and a wide range of other photography courses at North Georgia Technical College in Clarkesville, Ga. He also regularly presents “Earthbound Photography Workshops” focusing on camera skills and composition throughout the region.

Dr. Olivier Courteaux, 2013

Dr. Olivier Courteaux currently serves as assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada (equivalent to the United States Military Academy at West Point). Dr. Courteaux will analyze Franco-American international and governmental relations in the post-1945 world and Charles de Gaulle's foreign policy. He will examine those relations with regards to NATO from the 1940s to the present day. Dr. Courteaux received his Ph.D. from University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) in 2000 and has taught at York University and Ryerson University.

Hank Klibanoff, 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff became the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism at Emory University at the close of a 36-year career in newspapers in Mississippi and at The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he served as managing editor for news. In 2007, Klibanoff and his co-author, Gene Roberts, won the Pulitzer Prize in history for their book, “The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of a Nation.” The book explores news coverage of civil rights from the 1930s through the late 1960s, including the impact of press from various parties as well as television and photojournalism.

Klibanoff serves as managing editor of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project that uses multimedia reporting to investigate unsolved racial murders that took place during the civil rights era in the South. The project is led by the Center for Investigative Reporting and Paperny Films. He serves on the John Chancellor Excellence in Journalism Award Committee, and was formerly on the board of the Associated Press Managing Editors. He also serves on the board of VOX Teen Communications, a nonprofit youth development organization that enables metro Atlanta teens to express themselves freely by writing, designing and publishing a monthly newspaper.

Dr. Fraser Harbutt, 2011

Dr. Harbutt earned his B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Otago in New Zealand, his LL.M. from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research and scholarly interests include international history, United States diplomatic and political history and U.S.-Soviet relations.

Dr. Harbutt has written three books on the history of the Cold War, including The Iron Curtain: Churchill, America and the Origins of the Cold War, The Cold War Era and Yalta 1945: Europe and America at the Crossroads. Hereceived the Stuart L. Bernath Memorial Book Prize in 1986 from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He has published articles in esteemed publications including Political Science Quarterly, The Encyclopedia of United States Foreign Relations, The Oxford Companion to United States History and the Dictionary of American History, among others.

Dr. Joseph Lowery, 2009

Dr. Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader and co-founder and president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has often been called “the Dean of the Civil Rights Movement.” His advocacy began in the 1950s in Mobile where he headed the Alabama Civic Affairs Association fighting for desegregation of public transportation and accommodations. In 1957, he was one of the co-founders, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and from 1957 to 1998 served in many capacities for the organization including vice president, chairman of the board, and president and chief executive officer.

Dr. Lowery has traveled across the globe working for peace and justice in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Central America. He has also served as one of the most influential ministers of the United Methodist Church. In January, 2009, he delivered the benediction at the inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama. Dr. Lowery is one of 16 Americans who received the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama.