Journalism symposium to feature Morris Dees

Tori Bedsole


Troy University’s annual journalism symposium will feature keynote speaker Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center, on Wednesday, March 22.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Trojan Center ballroom. Admission is free.

Dees will be focusing on the topic “With Justice for All in a Changing America.” The social media hashtag will be #TroyJustice.

From 1 to 2 p.m., Dees will be available for a question-and-answer session with faculty and staff in Wallace Hall Room 336C.

According to Steve Stewart, assistant professor of journalism and faculty adviser to the Tropolitan, Dees represented Gary Dickey, an editor of Troy State University’s student newspaper, the Tropolitan, in 1967.

Dickey had been expelled in a dispute about an editorial and was seeking reinstatement. Citing constitutional issues of free expression, U.S. District Judge Frank M. Johnson ruled in Dickey’s favor.

In 1970, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin, Dees formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, a public interest law firm in Montgomery funded by donations. Its early cases included integrating the Alabama state troopers and the Montgomery YMCA.

The center monitors hate groups and develops legal strategies for protecting people. A movie on NBC, “Line of Fire,” described Dees’ fight against the Ku Klux Klan, including a $7 million judgment on behalf of the mother of a black man who was lynched in Mobile. Other multimillion-dollar verdicts against hate groups followed.

Dees has written three books.  He has received 17 honorary degrees, as well as awards from lawyers and human rights organizations. He received the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolence Peace Prize in April 2016 from The King Center and the National Education Association President’s Award for Human and Civil Rights in July 2016.

“We invited Morris Dees to campus because of his history of fighting for the rights of all individuals, including journalists,” Stewart said.

The event is the university’s M. Stanton Evans Symposium on Money, Politics and the Media, named for a Troy faculty member who was a national columnist, commentator, book author and editor of the Indianapolis News.

Information is avail­able from Stewart at or 334-672-3192.

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