January 18, 2008

Ethnic studies program at Case Western Reserve University hosts author Alice Randall and political philosopher Preston King

Public events will examine political and freedom of speech issues surrounding Gone with the Wind

Alice Randall Preston King

The Ethnic Studies Program at Case Western Reserve University will host several free public events that explore freedom of speech issues, including a presentation from Alice Randall, author of The Wind Done Gone, a parody of Margaret Mitchell's 1936 best-selling novel, Gone with the Wind. Former self-exiled political philosopher Preston King will join the conversation to take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, February 7 in Thwing Center Ballroom, 11111 Euclid Ave.

King will also give the talk, "Free Speech and the Constraints of Constitutional Democracy," at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 6, in 309 Clark Hall, 11130 Bellflower Rd.

Gilbert Doho, director of the ethnic studies program at Case Western Reserve, invited the speakers to campus after hearing them read Gone with the Wind from a slave's perspective during the Charles Johnson Think Tank Conference at Fisk University. Case and Fisk have an educational partnership.

"Dr. King can be an excellent source of inspiration," said Doho. He added that Randall's use of parody offers "an excellent lesson to the critical thinking process" that can benefit students and faculty.

Each speaker brings a unique perspective to the freedom of speech topic.

King, a writer and political philosopher, was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison in 1961 for draft evasion. Following his graduation from Fisk University, he had been denied a draft extension to pursue an advanced degree. King fled the country and studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His self-exile continued for 39 years until he was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2000. King returned to the United States for the funeral of his brother, civil rights activist Clennon W. King Jr. Another brother, C.B. King is an alumnus of the School of Law at Case.

During his years abroad, King taught and lectured at a number of colleges in England, Cameroon, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, India, Italy, Tanzania and Uganda and authored 16 books, among which are The Ideology of Order, Thinking a Past Problem, Toleration and Federalism and Federation and many articles.

Upon returning to the United States after his pardon, he held distinguished faculty positions at both Morehouse College and Emery University. He founded and edits the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.

During the program with Alice Randall, King will give the talk, "The Political Philosophy of 'Gone with the Wind'".

Randall's attempt to tell the complex human story of the slaves of Mitchell's Gone with the Wind met resistance when the Margaret Mitchell Trust sought an injunction against the publication of the book by Houghton Millin Books in 2001. The ensuing court battle raised claims by Randall that her work was protected by the First Amendment. Randall will elaborate upon that struggle to publish her book when she speaks about "The Wind Done Gone': Conception, Publication, Reception."

In addition to writing the parody, Randall has credits of more than 20 country music songs and is the first African American woman to have a number-one country hit. She is also a screenwriter who has worked on adaptations of The Eyes Were Watching God, Parting the Waters and Brer Rabbit.

King's and Randall's visits are supported by the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost, Case Western Reserve University and Fisk University in Partnership, Presidential Advisory Committee on Minorities, Flora Stone Mather Alumni Association, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, School of Law, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, College Scholars Program, The Hallinan Project, Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, Kelvin Smith Library and John Orlock, the Samuel B. and Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities.

Call 216-368-8961 for more details.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, January 18, 2008 09:30 AM | News Topics: College of Arts and Sciences, Events, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Lectures/Speakers, Provost Initiatives

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.