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7th Annual Winning the Race Conference returns March 28-30, themed “Make the Invisible, Visible”

CLEVELAND, Miss.— Delta State University’s award-winning race relations conference, Winning the Race, returns to campus for a seventh year, March 28-30, 2021.

The 2021 virtual conference, “Winning the Race: Make the Invisible, Visible”, will highlight systems and cultural norms that insulate stereotypes and inequalities and challenge the way things have always been done. Registration is free and available online at

This year’s event will be highlighted by Lawrence Ross, best-selling author of “Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on Americas Campuses.”

Ross’ “Blackballed” lecture on campus racism has been highly requested over the past four years, with visits to more than 200 schools.  He has written seven books – including “The Divine Nine” – and has lectured at over 700 colleges and universities. He received a B.A. in History from UCLA, and an M.F.A in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Author & 2021 Winning the Race Conference Speaker, Lawrence Ross.

“I am pleased that Delta State’s signature Winning the Race Conference will proceed as scheduled, albeit via virtual format, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DSU President William N. LaForge.

“The dialogue and engagements of this annual event stimulate important awareness and action in the race relations arena.  Where better than in the welcoming, learning environment of a university campus – especially in the Delta of Mississippi – to host such a timely and topical forum?”

LaForge continued, “This year’s conference spotlights unique programming for our students, and I hope that they will take full advantage of this terrific opportunity to hear thoughtful speakers and engage in enlightening discussions.”

The 2021 virtual conference will also highlight participants in Delta State University’s 1969 Sit-ins as a featured discussion for the President’s Roundtable.

On March 10, 1969, a group of 52 students staged a sit-in demonstration in front of Delta State University’s President’s Office to protest the disregard of a list of demands previously presented to the administration. The students were arrested and imprisoned for the night at Parchman State Penitentiary and later taken to the Bolivar County Court House where they were released on $200 bonds.

The actions of the students have now been seen as a turning point for race relations at Delta State University and the demonstration has since received the 2020 Elbert R. Hilliard Oral History Award from Mississippi Historical Society for its documentary.

Participants of the commemoration ceremony of the 1969 sit-ins.

“This year’s conference is especially relevant and timely following the racial tensions that reignited our country following the murder of George Floyd last year and the most recent, racially charged riots at the U.S. Capitol this past January,” noted Dr. Temika M. Simmons, chair of the 2021 conference.

“Our country remains in continued need of focused & intentional dialogue, healing, and collaborative action around racial equity and social justice to create more equitable communities and opportunities for future generations of leaders and changemakers.  We are excited to be part of that change and healing,” she added.

The 2021 Winning the Race virtual conference will further recognize local civil rights leaders during the Amzie Moore House recognition ceremony and feature a faculty/student poster contest, student talk back, signature events hosted by each academic colleges and its first high school poetry slam.

Review the exciting schedule and register for this free virtual conference at

For questions or more information, contact Logistics Coordinator Barbara Washington at