Award-winning author Alice Randall will be speaking tonight at 7 p.m. in the University Center Auditorium about her controversial novel The Wind Done Gone.
This novel, which is a parody of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, has led her into a serious court battle over copyright laws.
Randall, who wrote her book from the viewpoint of Scarlett O'Hara's mulatto half-sister, claimed the book was a serious parody and was protected by the First Amendment.
In April 2001, a federal judge blocked publication of Randall's novel, citing copyright infringement. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned the injunction in May, paving the way for the book's publication.
Ryan Robertson, a Black Cultural Programming Committee member, said he believes a diverse group will be in attendance tonight to hear Randall speak. He said the heart of the controversy came from Randall's belief that Gone with the Wind has harmed African Americans for a long time.
"Students should really come out and hear what she has to say in defense of her novel," Robertson said.
"It's an amazing story Alice Randall has. It's important to let students see Gone With the Wind from a different perspective," Kyrah McCowan, co-leader for this event, said.
Recently, Randall was one of four recipients to receive the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Award, which is given to honor individuals who have demonstrated an abundance of free spirit through a single act or a lifetime achievement.
She has also produced a screenplay and has worked on adaptations of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Parting the Waters and Brer Rabbit.
Tonight's event is sponsored by both the BCPC and the UT College of Law.
"We like to bring speakers that will educate and enhance the community," Robertson said. "(This event) is important for the Knoxville community as a whole."
Past BCPC speakers include Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Kweisi Mfume, the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
This program is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing in the Crest Room will follow Randall's lecture.