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Released February 9, 2005


HATTIESBURG – A renowned feminist scholar and social justice activist will present the first Women in the Humanities Lecture at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Barbara Smith, an instructor at the College of Saint Rose, will present “It Shouldn’t Have Happened But It Did: A Grassroots Coalition 2004 Electoral Success Story” Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Shelby F. Thames Polymer Science Research Center Auditorium.

Smith’s lecture will recount and analyze the recent grassroots campaign and election of David Soares to the office of district attorney for Albany County, N.Y. Soares ran on a progressive social platform which included opposition to New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, considered by their critics to include some of the harshest mandatory drug sentencing policies in the nation.

Smith will also make remarks on the role of progressive grassroots efforts in the United States during the 21st century.

“Barbara Smith has dedicated her life to fighting for social justice for all people,” said Dr. Kate Greene, associate professor of political science at Southern Miss and one of the sponsors of Smith’s lecture. “I believe her talk will inspire others to take on the fight against injustice, whether it be in the form of racism, homophobia, unjust wars or bureaucratic political power structures.”

A resident of Albany, N.Y, Smith was the founder and publisher of Kitchen Table Press, which published what are considered important scholarly works by women of color, including Smith’s own Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology. Although Kitchen Table has ceased publishing, many of its major titles have been acquired by larger presses and remain in print.

“We are honored to have Barbara Smith speak as our first lecturer in the Women in the Humanities Lecture Series, because she has helped so many women of so many backgrounds find their voices and find access to the press,” said Jeanne Gillespie, director of Women’s Studies at Southern Miss. “I know she will motivate our students and colleagues to reach inside themselves and put forth the extra effort needed to really make a difference.”

Smith is also one of the founders of the Combahee River Collective and primary author of its manifesto, A Black Lesbian Feminist Statement, which is credited with helping reshape both the feminist movement and modern feminist theory.

In addition to Greene, other sponsors of Smith’s presentation include the Southern Miss Committee on Services and Resources for Women, the Southern Miss Women’s Studies Program and the Mississippi Humanities Council. For more information on Smith’s lecture, contact Greene at (601) 266-4310.


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April 1, 2005 11:10 AM