Overby Center to host ‘Football Fridays’

OXFORD – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi is sponsoring a special series of programs this fall on Friday afternoons before home football games.
The “Gatherings Before the Grove” series will cover topics from current politics and news to a 50th anniversary look back at the fabled 1959 Ole Miss football team and a new book chronicling the 1962 integration crisis at the university.
“We’re excited about our lineup, and we hope to attract a lot of student interest as well as alumni back in town for football weekends,” said Charles Overby, CEO and president of the Freedom Forum, which founded the center.
Each program is set for the Overby Center Auditorium overlooking the Grove at 5 p.m. Fridays. All events are free and open to the public and will be followed by receptions.
The series begins Sept. 18 with a conversation with Charles Eagles, William Winter Professor of History and author of “The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss” (University of North Carolina Press, 2009).
Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie, a student at Ole Miss at the time, will serve as moderator for the talk with Eagles and other presenters on the fall schedule.
Other programs in the series are:
• Oct. 9 – Howell Raines, former executive editor of The New York Times, discusses the economic threat to American newspapers.
• Oct. 16 – Shepard Smith, Fox News anchor and Ole Miss alumnus, discusses his high-profile role at the network.
• Oct. 23 – Members of the 1959 Rebels football team – named SEC “team of the decade” – will talk about their memorable season when Ole Miss gave up only 21 points and wound up No. 2 in national polls.
• Nov. 13 – Ole Miss graduates Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger, and Otis Sanford, editorial page editor of The Commercial Appeal, will reflect on their newspapers’ coverage that helped drive the mayors of Jackson and Memphis from office earlier this year.
• Nov. 20 – A panel observes what would have been the late Willie Morris’ 75th birthday with a discussion of how the innovative Mississippi native turned Harper’s into the country’s hottest magazine and changed American magazines forever.
For more information on programs at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, go to www.olemiss.edu/depts/overby/.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal