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Slaves Author to Speak at Overby Center


Jesse J. Holland, a former editor of the Daily Mississippian, returns to the campus Thursday, February 25, to talk about his new book, The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House, in the first program of the spring semester at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

The event will be held at 11 a.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. Like all Overby Center sessions, it is free and open to the public.


Holland is a 1994 graduate of Ole Miss, where he studied journalism. A native of Holly Springs, he was one of the first blacks to lead the student newspaper at the university. He went on to become a reporter for the Associated Press in Washington where he has covered the White House, Congress and the U.,S. Supreme Court. He also specializes in writing about race and ethnicity and appears frequently as a speaker on college campuses.

“The Invisbles” reveals that ten of the first 12 presidents of the United States were slave masters in the presidential home. A Kirkus review of the book calls it a “brisk history” that examines “the tangled relationships between slaves and the presidents they served, from George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant, and exposes the convoluted laws enacted to impede slaves’ quests for freedom.”

“We’re delighted to have Jesse Holland back with us to talk about this intriguing subject,” said Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie, who will join the guest in a conversation about the book.

Holland’s appearance at the Overby Center coincides with the annual Black History Month observance at Ole Miss.

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