Alumni Spotlight: Ralph Eubanks
The words of William Faulkner hung in the Library, “I decline to accept the end of man. I believe that man will not merely endure, he will prevail,” proved to inspire Ralph Eubanks (BA ’78) during his time at Ole Miss and has influenced his life as a Publisher, acclaimed author, and guest lecturer.
Ralph Eubanks, author of the 2003 book, Ever is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippi’s Dark Past, was born to Lucille and Warren Eubanks in Mt. Olive, Miss. in 1957. Both parents, Alabama natives, were graduates of Tuskegee Institue and held professional positions in Mt. Olive, a rarity of the times. Warren Eubanks served as the County Agent and Lucille as a schoolteacher in the school system. Ralph was the third of four children and would prove to be the only son.
When the time came for Eubanks to choose his college he began to look for a place where he could find his desired autonomy. Knowing that he must attend a Mississippi school, he eliminated the nearby University of Southern Mississippi as most of the students from his hometown were headed there. He also rejected Mississippi State University since his two sisters were already there, and he wanted out from under their shadow. Eubanks was accepted into Ole Miss before he ever stepped foot on the campus, but he can vividly recall his first time in Oxford and his first stroll through the Square.
“It looked just as I had imagined the town Jefferson described in William Faulkner’s novels, only grandeur,” he said. “At that moment I couldn’t wait to begin at Ole Miss. I was smitten by the town of Oxford.”
While at Ole Miss, Eubanks changed his major from the one his father chose, pre-med, to ones more adept to him, English and Psychology, and was very active on campus. He proved his passion for writing early on by winning the Freshman Essay Contest in 1974. In the fall of 1975, he and two other students were the first black students to be elected to the Student Senate. Eubanks was a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honor Society, and held the position of president during his senior year.
After receiving his BA Ralph headed north to receive his MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. In 1995, Eubanks became the Director of Publishing at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Since becoming Director he has helped move the Library’s publishing program firmly into the trade publishing arena. In the past year they have released several new titles including Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939-1943 and Voices of War: Stories from the U.S. Veterans History Project.
Besides maintaining his position as the Director of Publishing, Eubanks has served as a teacher and guest lecturer at the University of Virginia. He has also written for The Washington Post’s Outlook and Style sections, the Chicago Tribune, as well as many others. Mr. Eubanks’ most recent triumph is the 2003 release of his own memoir Ever is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippi’s Dark Past, a reflective look at both his own past and that of his native Mississippi.
Ralph Eubanks has been married to Denver, Colorado native Colleen Delaney Eubanks since 1989. Mrs. Eubanks serves as the executive director of the Christ Child Society of Washington, DC, an organization which is dedicated to serving at-risk, vulnerable children in Washington DC and its suburbs. Ralph and Colleen have three children, two boys and a girl, Patrick (12), Aidan (10) and Delaney (7).
Look for Mr. Eubanks to return to Oxford in November as a speaker on the panel at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture’s conference “The American South, Then and Now.”