Amelia Carpenter, The Miami Student

It’s not everyday someone writes a public letter to terrorists, but after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Leonard Pitts Jr. used his column in The Miami Herald as a medium to do so. The angry letter served as a topic of national conversation as a result.

Monday, Feb. 7, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist will present Owning What You Know in Hall Auditorium at Miami University. The author and journalist will speak about the current state of public discussion in the U.S. and the struggle to identify truth in society.

Pitts’ professional career began at age 18 in 1976 for SOUL, a national black entertainment tabloid. Two years later, he became the editor. In 1994, Pitts began writing his twice-weekly column at The Miami Herald and has since won multiple journalism awards, including a Pulitzer in 2004 for commentary.

In addition to his column, Pitts is a published author. Pitts wrote Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood and Before I Forget. He also has a collection of columns called Forward From This Moment and a series called What Works? about programs that improve the lives of black children. Pitts has also taught journalism at three U.S. universities.

Pitts graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor of arts in English and now lives in a Washington, D.C. suburb with his family.

The free event is sponsored by the Journalism Program, the Miami chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Miami University Special Events Funds, the Center for American and World Cultures and the Department of Political Science.

To read Pitts’ most recent columns, visit to

For more information, contact event coordinator Patricia Gallagher Newberry at or (513) 529-5893.