September 15, 2003 W. Ralph Eubanks Discusses His New Memoir on September 17

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W. Ralph Eubanks, the director of the Publishing Office at the Library of Congress, will discuss his new memoir, "Ever is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past" (Basic Books, 2003), at noon, Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. in Washington, D.C.

The program is part of the Center for the Book's author series, Books & Beyond, which showcases new books of special relevance to the Library of Congress. Open to the public, the event is free and tickets are not required. A book signing will follow the talk.

Eubanks, who has been director of the Library’s Publishing Office since 1995, is a native of Mount Olive, Miss. “Ever is a Long Time” describes what it was like to grow up as an African American in Mississippi in the 1960s. It is set against the backdrop of the assassinations of Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, forcible school integration, and the files of the once-secret Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission.

In 1956 the state of Mississippi created the State Sovereignty Commission to monitor the activities of people who challenged Jim Crow segregation. Eubanks was surprised to discover that his ordinary parents, who were members of the NAACP, were on the infamous list. This horrific discovery led to his journey into the past, resulting in the creation of his new book.

In praising "Ever is a Long Time," Pulitizer prize winner David Levering Lewis called it "a Mississippi detective story wrapped in a memoir" and a "remarkable journey back to the civil rights future." Book critic Jonathan Yardley noted in The Washington Post: “Eubanks’s prose is as lean and clean as Faulkner’s is tangled and labyrinthine, but its roots are as deep in Mississippi’s soil as are those of anything Faulkner wrote. It is, in all respects, an exemplary and admirable piece of work.”

The Center for the Book was established in 1977 to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries. For information about its program, publications and forthcoming events, and the activities of its affiliates in 50 states and the District of Columbia, consult its Web site at


PR 03-154
ISSN 0731-3527