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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Author and investigative reporter Edwin Black visits Guilford College

Distinguished author and investigative reporter Edwin Black came to Guilford College on Monday, Sept. 19, just over a week after the ten year reflection on the events of September 11, in order to discuss and inform his audiences of terrorism that exists wherever people coexist.

As the author of 10 best selling books about controversial topics, Black is a well-celebrated investigative journalist as well, cracking corporate codes to bring out the truth. Such findings are included in his award-winning books: “Internal Combustion”, “IBM and the Holocaust”, “The War Against the Weak”, and “The Farhud”.

“(Black) is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books and has earned widespread critical acclaim as an investigative journalist who addresses important issues of concern to anyone interested in peace and justice issues,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Adrienne Israel in an email correspondence.

Black spoke four separate times on the Guilford College campus. Most of his topics covered the focuses of his work on genocide and hate, corporate criminality and corruption, governmental misconduct, academic fraud, philanthropic abuse, oil addiction, alternative energy, and historical investigation.

Black also gave a presentation specifically geared to journalism students to discuss how he became a celebrated figure in the literary world and investigative journalism.

“You must think like a criminal and act like a cop,” Black said in one of his presentations.

Black said that both sides of the story must be investigated when dealing with such high-profile investigations.

In line with that thinking, Black also said that an investigative journalist must let the accused tell his or her side of the story in order to have all of the facts to make the case. The last presentation Black gave on Monday touched on the Farhud, a “violent dispossession” of the Jewish population in Baghdad in 1941, and the Arab-Semite conflict as an example of Black’s work in historic investigation.

“(Genocide) goes back for centuries,” said sophomore Lars Henke. “There really hasn’t been a time where it hasn’t gone on … I feel that I have been really effected by Black’s presentation.”

Black’s presentations also brought discourse to Guilford.

“Our students would benefit from engaging in a dialogue with someone whose views may not be heard as frequently as others on our campus,” said Israel.

The discourse continued throughout the day as Black focused on investigative journalism, eugenics as seen in North Carolina and the Farhud as his main topics.

In his book, The Farhud, Black investigates the Nazi-Arab alliance during the Holocaust and what historical events led up to the alliance. Exposure to controversial issues such as the Farhud is gracefully discussed by many on campus, even by members of Guilford’s Quaker community.

The entirety of Black’s topics touched on the extreme violence used by different groups in history.

“It is good for the college to bring speakers to campus who don’t reflect a particular Quaker take on things because we have to understand a variety of perspectives,” said Director of the Friends Center and Campus Ministry Coordinator Max Carter. “Hearing someone like Black will let people hear a narrative of one side to justify suspicion of peaceful coexistence.”

Black left a lasting impression on quite a few minds.

“Black is a very knowledgeable man who is passionate about his books and research,” said sophomore Ryan Phillips. “All of the presentations I attended opened my eyes to something new that I am looking forward to researching myself.”

Black’s tour stop on Guilford’s campus was well received, with intellectual stimulation and discourse throughout the day, even on controversial topics.

“I have spoken to many colleges and have rarely seen as gracious a host as Guilford College,” Black said.

Black certainly impacted people at Guilford as well.

“Edwin Black is a historian and presented the facts from years of research,” said Assisstant Academic Dean for Advising and Academic Support Barbara Boyette. “He did not offer an opinion nor supposition nor comment on current day practices. He recounted the past as had been researched from documents, not from narratives passed down and altered over time. I thought he was an excellent speaker and very informative.”

“I have one narrative and one history for everybody,” said Black.


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