The John Breaux Symposium 2016: 'This Great Experiment in Human Progress': Race, Voting and Mass Communication a Half Century After the Voting Rights Act

April 11, 2016 to April 12, 2016
Louisiana, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, Political History / Studies, Race Studies, American History / Studies, Communication

Nearly 51 years after passage of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication will host a two-day symposium to examine the current state of political participation in the United States, as well as race relations in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

This year’s annual John Breaux Symposium – “This Great Experiment in Human Progress: Race, Voting and Mass Communication a Half Century After the Voting Rights Act” – will take place in the Holliday Forum at LSU’s Journalism Building in Baton Rouge, April 11-12, 2016.

LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs sponsors the annual symposium. The Race in the Americas (RITA) group, will join the Reilly Center as the symposium’s co-sponsor.

Among those participating in the symposium will be:

Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux; Charles S. Bullock, the Richard B. Russell professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia; Nicole Austin-Hillery, director and counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University;

Journalist Ari Berman, author of Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America; Kwame Holman of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; David Goodman, president of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, and brother of Andrew Goodman (one of three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi in 1964);

Theresa Amato, founder of the Citizens Advocacy Center; Jarvis DeBerry, columnist for | New Orleans Times Picayune; Alfreda Tillman Bester, general counsel for the Louisiana State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Jasmyne Cannick, broadcaster and social commentator.

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler; Louisiana state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the Democratic Party of Louisiana; Robin Armstrong, national committeeman from Texas, Republican National Committee; Rickey Cole, chair of the Democratic Party of Mississippi, and Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Democratic Party of Texas.

The Breaux Symposium facilitates lively debate and discussion on themes relating to politics and mass communication. Underpinning the focus of the Manship School on the study of media and politics, the central question at the heart of each Breaux Symposium is: How well is the public being informed, and what must be done to increase citizen awareness and constructive debate? The 2016 event will focus on issues surrounding voting and political participation, and race relations in U.S. society in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. 

The symposium’s proceedings are free and open to the public.

Contact Info: 

For more information, including a schedule of the conference proceedings, please contact Kelli Palmer at or 225-578-7312 or James Owen Heath at

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