Douglas Blackmon

Director of Public Programs, Executive Producer of American Forum

Fast Facts

  • Executive Producer and Host of American Forum
  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Slavery by Another Name
  • Working on forthcoming book with former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Expertise in race relations, slavery, history of the American South 

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Education
  • Human Rights and Civil Rights
  • Law and Justice
  • Media and the Press
  • Race and Racism
  • Social Issues
  • Politics

Douglas A. Blackmon is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, and co-executive producer of the acclaimed PBS documentary of the same name. He is also executive producer and host of American Forum, a public affairs program produced by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and aired on more than 200 public television affiliates across the U.S.

His book, a searing examination of how the enslavement of African-Americans persisted deep into the 20th Century, was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. The Slavery by Another Name documentary was broadcast in February 2012 and attracted an audience of 4.8 million viewers. Slavery by Another Name grew out of his 2001 article on slave labor in The Wall Street Journal. It revealed the use of forced labor by dozens of U.S. corporations and commercial interests in coal mines, timber camps, factories, and farms in cities and states across the South, beginning after the Civil War and continuing until the beginning of World War II.

Blackmon was the longtime chief of The Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta bureau and the paper’s Senior National Correspondent, and was a contributing editor at the Washington Post. He has written about or directed coverage of some of the most pivotal stories in American life, including the election of President Barack Obama, the rise of the tea party movement, and the BP oil spill. Overseeing coverage of 11 southeastern states for the Journal, he and his team of reporters were responsible for the Journal’s acclaimed coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the failed federal response after that disaster; the Journal’s investigation into the training and preparations of the 9/11 hijackers in Florida; immigration; poverty; politics; and daily reporting on more than 2,500 corporations based in the region.

As a writer and editor at large, Blackmon led the Journal’s coverage of the tea party and the final hours before the BP oil spill—for which he and a team of other Journal writers were finalists for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Those stories received a Gerald Loeb Award in June 2011.

Blackmon has written extensively over the past 25 years about the American quandary of race–exploring the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, lost episodes of the Civil Rights movement, and, repeatedly, the dilemma of how a contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past. Many of his stories in The Wall Street Journal explored the interplay of wealth, corporate conduct, the American judicial system, and racial segregation. International assignments have included the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the reunification of East and West Germany, the civil war in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, post apartheid South Africa, and the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Political assignments have included the inauguration of President Obama in 2008, presidential campaigns of 1988, 2002, 2008, and 2012, the post presidency of Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton while governor of Arkansas in the 1980s.

Blackmon is also a co-founder and board member of two socially and ethnically diverse charter schools serving more than 600 students, including his own two children, in grades Kindergarten through eight in the inner city of Atlanta.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Slavery by Another Name was a New York Times bestseller in both hard cover and soft cover editions, and was awarded a 2009 American Book Award, the 2009 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters non-fiction book prize, a 2008 Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Book Award, the NAACP Freedom Fund Outstanding Achievement Award, and many other citations. He has been honored by the state legislature of Georgia for distinguished scholarship and service to history. In 2010, he received the Grassroots Justice Award from the Georgia Justice Project.

Blackmon is a much sought-after lecturer on race, history, and social memory. In Spring 2010, he was invited by Attorney General Eric Holder to present a lecture to senior Department of Justice of officials in Washington D.C. He also has lectured at Harvard School of Law, Yale University, Princeton, the New School, Emory University, Vanderbilt School of Law, the Clinton and Lincoln presidential libraries, and many other institutions.

Prior to his work at The Wall Street Journal, Blackmon covered race and politics at the Atlanta Journal Constitution for seven years. His reporting on corruption at Atlanta City Hall in the 1990s helped lead to the conviction and imprisonment of eight city officials, including two former councilmen and the city’s chief investment officer.

Raised in Leland, Miss., Blackmon penned his first newspaper story for the weekly Leland Progress at the age of 12. He received his degree in English from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. He lives in downtown Atlanta and Charlottesville, Va.


Douglas Blackmon News Feed

Douglas Blackmon, an author and senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, said Trump either does not understand the history of the Confederacy or he’s sympathetic to white nationalist views.
Douglas Blackmon The Trumpet
Miller Center Senior Fellow Douglas Blackmon explained on Twitter why President Trump's declaration that he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself of crimes is setting up a fight that could end up giving America's executive branch dictatorial powers.
Douglas Blackmon Raw Story
Douglas Blackmon, director of Public Programs for the Miller Center, moderated the event and asked Khan about his literary works during the 90-minute event, but their discussion covered much more — Khan told the story of how he’d dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen since he first read the Constitution in his 20s in Pakistan, sharing an inspiring optimism about the power of democracy and his thoughts on the importance of political action in the Trump era.
Douglas Blackmon The Cavalier Daily
"It's astounding that Alabama would allow laws and practices associated with the most horrible nightmares of its past to remain in active use today," said Douglas Blackmon, author of the 2009 Pultizer Prize-winning book "Slavery by Another Name," which explores forced labor of imprisoned black men after the Civil War.
Douglas Blackmon
Miller Center scholars are featured in a wide range of Virginia Festival of the Book events this week
In 2010, Alabama prison officials labeled as a security threat Slavery By Another Name, Douglas Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize winning account of the systemic re-enslavement of blacks following the Civil War through incarceration and debt.
Douglas Blackmon USA Today