Otis Sanford, a longtime columnist for The Commercial Appeal, will be a guest speaker at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics Monday, April 24, at 6 p.m. to talk about the racial conflict and transition that has taken place in Memphis politics, from the time of E.H. Crump’s rule of the city in the first half of the 20th century, to the modern era in which African Americans exert power.
Sanford has written about this subject in his new book, From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics.
He will be joined in the discussion by two other long-time political observers, Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie.
The program in the Overby Center Auditorium is free and open to the public. A reception will be held following the event, and arrangements have been made for parking in the lot adjacent to the auditorium.
Sanford, who grew up near Como, a north Mississippi town in the shadow of Memphis, is a 1975 graduate of the University of Mississippi. He majored in journalism. He served on the staff of major newspapers in Jackson, Pittsburgh and Detroit before settling at The Commercial Appeal, where he eventually became managing editor.
In 2005, Sanford was awarded the Silver Em, the highest honor given by the university’s journalism school to native Mississippians who excel in journalism or to those who have distinguished themselves in the state.
He is now a member of the University of Memphis faculty, but continues to write a weekly column for The Commercial Appeal.
“Otis is not only a product of Ole Miss we value, he has become the most knowledgeable source on Memphis politics, and it will be great to welcome him back,” said Wilkie.