Indiana State University Newsroom

Washington Post columnist and MSNBC regular Eugene Robinson discusses the news Nov. 10

November 3, 2010

Washington Post columnist and MSNBC regular Eugene Robinson will speak Nov. 10 in conjunction with the 30th anniversary season of the University Speakers Series in Indiana State University's Tilson Auditorium.

In a 25-year career at The Washington Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor and assistant managing editor in charge of the paper's award winning Style section. He has written books about race in Brazil and music in Cuba, covered a heavyweight championship fight, witnessed riots in Philadelphia and a murder trial in the deepest Amazon, and sat with Presidents and Dictators and the Queen of England. He was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on the 2008 presidential race that resulted in the election of America's first African-American president. Robinson is frequently seen on MSNBC with Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

Robinson was born and raised in Orangeburg, SC. He remembers the culminating years of the Civil Rights Movement-the "Orangeburg Massacre," a 1968 incident in which police fired on students protesting a segregated bowling alley and killed three unarmed young men, took place within sight of his house just a few hundred yards away. He was educated at Orangeburg High School, where he was one of a handful of black students on the previously all white campus; and the University of Michigan, where during his senior year he was the first black student to be named co-editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper, The Michigan Daily.

He began his journalism career at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was one of two reporters assigned to cover the trial of kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst which arguably set the pattern for all the saturation-coverage celebrity trials that have followed.
He was named The Post's South America correspondent, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which allowed him to research his first book, "Coal to Cream: A Black Man's Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race," published in 1999. For the subsequent two years, he was London bureau chief before returning to Washington to become The Post's foreign editor in 1994. That same year he was elected to the Council of Foreign Relations.

Robinson is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and has received numerous journalism awards. His second book, "Last Dance in Havana: The Final Days of Fidel and the Start of the New Cuban Revolution"-an examination of contemporary Cuba, looking at the society through the vibrant music scene-was published in 2004.

In his latest book, "Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America," Robinson explores how African-American population has splintered into four distinct and increasingly disconnected entities: a small elite with enormous influence, a mainstream middle-class majority, a newly emergent group of recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and an abandoned minority.

Drawing on census records, polling data, sociological studies, and his own experiences growing up in a segregated South Carolina college town during the 1950s, Robinson explores 140 years of black history in America, focusing on how the civil rights movement, desegregation, and affirmative action contributed to the fragmentation.

A book signing and reception will follow Robinson's presentation, which will begin at 7 p.m. Due to construction, patrons will need to enter Tirey Hall from the north or west doors. Volunteers will be available to provide directions to the marked entrances. Additionally, the university will run shuttles from the Cherry Street parking garage to the entrances beginning at 6:15 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

The University Speakers Series has brought the likes of Ralph Nadar, Gerald Ford, Sister Helen Prejean, Amy Tan, Nancy Grace, Andy Rooney, Robert Ballard, Carole Simpson, Marlee Matlin, Maya Angelou, Jim Lovell, Garrison Keillor, Bob Woodward, Robert Osborne, Mitch Albom and Andrew Young to the campus of Indiana State.

More information about the 2010-11 University Speakers Series can be found at  or by calling 812-237-8479.

Media contact and writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or