January 14, 2021

Media advisory: Experts available to discuss Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights today and historically

As the United States observes Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18, Southern Illinois University Carbondale experts who have extensively studied racism and civil rights can speak to reporters and news crews about the history and current state of civil rights in America and King’s impact, as well as other relevant topics.

These experts – from the Department of Africana Studies and the Department of History – along with contact information to reach them to arrange interviews, include:

  • Joseph A. Brown, professor of Africana studies and a Catholic priest, grew up in East St. Louis and is the founding chair of the 1917 Centennial Commission & Cultural Initiative, Inc., the commission formed to coordinate activities commemorating the bloody 1917 East St. Louis race riots. His literary works, including numerous original poems, focus largely on Black Catholic theology, literary criticism and cultural studies and have been widely published. He also teaches various classes focusing on African American topics. He helped establish the Department of Africana Studies and mentors many of its students. Contact him via email at jbrownsj@siu.edu to arrange an interview.
  • Jonathan J. Bean, history professor and chairperson of the history department, is the author of “Race and Liberty in America: The Essential Reader,” which earned acclaim from the American Library Association. His writings focusing on affirmative action, racial justice, government policies and businesses, and other related topics have been published in various journals. Bean’s articles, interviews and research can be found in numerous publications and media, including NPR, CBS and U.S. News & World Report. He is a member of the Illinois State Advisory Panel for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Call his cellphone at 618-534-8681 or email jonbean@siu.edu to set up an interview.