Event

Wynton Marsalis plays excerpts from “Blood on the Fields” during the Nieman Foundation for Journalism’s centennial celebration of The Pulitzer Prizes on Sept. 10, 2016 at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The epic oratorio is about one couple’s journey from slavery to freedom — the first jazz composition to win the Pulitzer.

Wynton Marsalis plays excerpts from “Blood on the Fields” during the Nieman Foundation for Journalism’s centennial celebration of The Pulitzer Prizes on Sept. 10, 2016 at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The epic oratorio is about one couple’s journey from slavery to freedom — the first jazz composition to win the Pulitzer.

Power: Accountability and Abuse

September 10 – 11, 2016

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The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard is honored to have hosted the capstone marquee event for The Pulitzer Prizes’ year-long Centennial Celebration in 2016.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, composers, authors, poets and playwrights convened at Harvard on September 10th and 11th to debate, discuss — and perform — the theme “Power: Abuse and Accountability.”

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust opened the weekend Sept. 10 with an introduction of Pulitzer Prize winner and world-renowned jazz pioneer Wynton Marsalis. She reflected on how Marsalis uses music to advance national conversations on critical issues.

Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage

“Through the lens of music, he brought us a portrait of our nation itself: of the rhythms of our national identity, of differences and common ground, of democracy, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Faust said during her introduction of Marsalis. “But he does not let us forget that America also has – in his words – a bloodstained and painful past. Yet these terrible realities, he reminds us, have paradoxically been the source of much of our nation’s finest art and creativity.”

Robert Caro, NF '66

Robert Caro, NF '66

Faust added that the Pulitzer Prize has been “devoted to the power and importance of our national conversation as well; to lifting up creative expressions of journalism, fiction and non-fiction, drama and music. In honoring the best of America, the Pulitzer Prizes embrace the same optimism that Wynton defines as the heart of human possibility and music’s possibility.”

Marsalis reflected on the themes raised by “Blood on the Fields,” his epic oratorio of one couple’s journey from slavery to freedom — the first jazz composition to win the Pulitzer. He interspersed musical performances with his quintet to reflecting on themes including the power of jazz, blues and other musical forms to mirror America’s diversity with its amalgam of influences.

Stan Grossfeld, NF '92

Stan Grossfeld, NF '92

The Marsalis event at Harvard’s historic Sanders Theatre was followed on Sept. 11, 2016, by a day-long program of Pulitzer winners engaged in conversation, storytelling and performances that highlight the work of those who give voice to the powerless and hold the powerful to account.

Among them, playwright Lynn Nottage presented a scene from her Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘Ruined’ about a brothel keeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo; author Junot Díaz read from his novel about a Dominican-American teenager coming of age in a multi-generational immigrant family; and legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward engaged in a lively debate with Laura Poitras — who was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for stories revealing widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency — and New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet about the journalist’s role in holding those in power accountable.

Sacha Pfeiffer

Sacha Pfeiffer

The Nieman celebration was the final of four signature events nationwide in 2016 honoring the Pulitzers’ Centennial.

The other events focusing on Pulitzer Prize-winning work are:

  • “Civil Rights, Social Equality and Democracy” at The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla., March 31- April 1
  • “War, Migration and the Quest for Peace” hosted by  the Los Angels Times and USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, May 19-20
  • “The People, the Presidency and the Press” sponsored by The The Dallas Morning News and Texas’ three presidential libraries, June 2-3

 

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust opens with an introduction of Pulitzer Prize winner Wynton Marsalis

 

Robert Caro recalls the incident, when he was working on “The Power Broker,” that made him realize that in writing about power, he would have to do so through the lens of the powerless

 

Dean Baquet talks with Laura Poitras and Bob Woodward about their work to expose two of the most stunning abuses of government power in American history

 

A videotaped conversation with “Hamilton” writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda about finding your voice as a writer and the role of the playwright in addressing history