2020 Eve Marie Carson Lecture - Karen Parker '65 | Tar Heels Together

2020 Eve Marie Carson Lecture – Karen Parker ’65


Trailblazer Karen Parker ‘65: A Carolina First

Rewatch the virtual 2020 Eve Marie Carson Lecture featuring Karen Parker ’65, the first African American woman undergraduate to attend Carolina.

Karen will speak about trailblazing a path as a student at Carolina during the civil rights movement and how those experiences shaped and prepared her for an illustrious career in journalism that took her to leading newsrooms across the country. A Q&A moderated by Susan King, dean of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, will follow.

About the Eve Marie Carson Lecture Series

Former student body president Eve Marie Carson started the UNC Student Government Distinguished Speakers Series in 2007. Eve strongly believed in Carolina students, saying, “It’s us — the student body — who make UNC what it is.” She built a platform for a student-run lecture series that has strengthened the values of the student body and better equipped students to serve their communities.

The Distinguished Speakers Series was renamed the Eve Marie Carson Lecture Series in honor of Carson’s legacy, and the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council became the presenting sponsor of the series in 2010. As members of the Carolina community, CWLC aspires to uphold the values set forth for speakers in the series: a strong ability to lead ourselves and others, a commitment to public service, and a proven ability to enact real, positive change in a community.

About Karen Parker ’65

Born in Salisbury, North Carolina, Karen Parker ’65 grew up in Winston-Salem, where she worked for the Winston-Salem Journal and studied at UNC Women’s College in Greensboro (now UNC Greensboro), before transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill. Karen was the first African American woman undergraduate to attend Carolina. While studying journalism at Carolina, Karen was elected vice-president of the UNC Press Club and served as editor of the UNC Journalist, the School of Journalism’s newspaper, in 1964. Active in the civil rights movement, Karen participated in marches, protests and sit-ins and was arrested and jailed twice.

After Parker graduated from Carolina in 1965, she became a copy editor for the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan and later worked for the Los Angeles Times for 15 years before returning to her hometown newspaper. She retired from the Winston-Salem Journal in 2010 and was inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame in 2012.

In 2016, the University announced it would name grants and fellowships to honor those who became important “firsts” in the University’s history. Parker is among those who have been honored.

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