Crespino Reviews Mitchell’s ‘Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era’ for the ‘Wall Street Journal’

Dr. Joseph Crespino, History Department Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor of History, recently published a review article in the Wall Street Journal. Crespino’s article centers on the new book by journalist Jerry Mitchell, who, beginning in the late 1980s, launched a series of investigations that would re-open four of the most infamous acts of Southern racist violence from the 1960s. Mitchell published the book, Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era, with Simon & Schuster in early February 2020. Read an excerpt from Crespino’s review below, along with the full piece (paywall restricted): “‘Race Against Time’ Review: A Reporter for Justice.”

Race Against Time” provides a sobering view of white-supremacist politics. The power that social media now provides white-nationalist groups to spread their hatred makes the tactics of earlier generations look quaint. Weeks before Beckwith’s final retrial was scheduled to begin, fliers appeared in the driveways of hundreds of Mississippi homes describing him as a political prisoner. Mr. Mitchell traced the fliers back to Beckwith himself, who had paid some $1,000 to have them printed and distributed. Imagine by comparison the scale of disinformation and intimidation that far-right groups spread today via social media.

Jason Morgan Ward Speaks on C-SPAN Panel ‘Reinterpreting Southern History’


Dr. Jason Morgan Ward, Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies, recently contributed to a panel on C-SPAN about new approaches to understanding the history of the South. The panel, which took place at the 2019 Southern Historical Association annual meeting, included Ward along with other authors from the upcoming edited volume Reinterpreting Southern Histories: Essays in Historiography (LSU Press, 2020). Find video of the full panel at “Reinterpreting Southern History.”



Dr. Judith A. Miller and Student Natalia Thomas Describe “Fake News” Course on GPB’s ‘On Second Thought’

Dr. Judith A. Miller and first-year student Natalia Thomas were recently interviewed on the Georgia Public Broadcasting show On Second Thought about Miller’s first-year seminar “Fake News.” Speaking to host Virginia Prescott, Miller describes how, as a historian of 18th and 19th century France, she ended up teaching a course with a substantial focus on contemporary U.S. history. Thomas, a first-year student in the course, describes the impact “Fake News” has already had on students: “‘I used to just take what I read at face value,” she explained. “I’ve learned to be more cautious about what I’m consuming, and make sure to check multiple news sources and see what they’re saying about certain issues.”‘ Read the article summary of the conversation and listen to the full interview: “Emory University’s ‘Fake News’ Course Helps Students Tease Fact From Fiction.”

Rogers and Collaborator Manuel Publish Opinion Piece in ‘The Hill’ on Ethanol Policy in the U.S. and Brazil

Associate Professor Thomas D. Rogers recently co-authored an opinion piece in The Hill with collaborator Jeffrey T. Manuel, Associate Professor of History at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The article examines ethanol policy in the United States and Brazil, the two largest ethanol-producing countries in the world, with a focus on the powerful multiparty blocs of legislators that steer policy in both countries. Rogers and Manuel are writing a transnational history of biofuels in the United States and Brazil. Read an excerpt from the piece below along with the full article: “Who is driving our ethanol policy? And why does it matter?

“When a government treats energy sources and fuels individually, organized groups like the rural blocs can capture policymaking. Instead, the United States and Brazil should pursue comprehensive national energy policies that prioritize decarbonization. This would diminish agribusiness’s influence over policymaking and move us toward a distributed and diverse energy system.”

Elizabeth Stice (PhD, 2012) Describes Assigning One Text for the Entire Semester in “Inside Higher Ed”

Dr. Elizabeth Stice, a 2012 PhD alumna and Associate Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, recently authored an article in Inside Higher Ed on taking a different approach to assigned readings in her courses. In a humanities course that typically covers from 1700 through the present, Stice opted to use only one text for the entire semester: Tolstoy’s Anna KareninaRead about the mostly positive results of the experiment in Stice’s Inside Higher Ed article: “When Less Is More in the Classroom.” Stice completed her dissertation, “Empire Between the Lines: Constructions of Empire in British and French Trench Newspapers of the Great War,” under the advisement of Associate Professor of History Kathryn E. Amdur.

Crespino Writes Op-Ed for ‘The New York Times’: “The Democrats Are in Georgia. The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher.”

Dr. Joseph Crespino, Department Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor of History, authored an opinion piece in The New York Times last month on the day of the democratic presidential primary debate held here in Atlanta. In the article, “The Democrats Are in Georgia. The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher,” Crespino provides historical context for democratic optimism that Georgia could turn blue in the 2020 election. Crespino’s most recent book is Atticus Finch: The Biography (Basic Books, 2018). Read an excerpt of The New York Times article below along with the full piece: “The Democrats Are in Georgia. The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher.”

“In many ways, American politics today resemble an earlier era in Southern history, when candidates who only a few years before their election had been dismissed as jokes or nobodies stoked reactionary impulses to win the highest office in the state. That’s what happened in Georgia in 1966 when Lester Maddox, a folksy restaurateur and longtime failed candidate, was elected governor. After Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, forcing the desegregation of public accommodations in the South, Maddox leapt to public prominence by wielding an ax handle to chase away African-Americans who attempted to eat at his restaurant. He attracted the same voters that George Wallace won in neighboring Alabama — white Southerners embittered by social and political changes that they felt were being forced upon them by sanctimonious, out-of-touch elites.”

Carol Anderson on ‘Lynching’ Tweet: “[President Donald Trump] is getting his due process, lynching victims did not”

Dr. Carol Anderson recently contributed to an ABC News piece about Donald Trump’s description of the House impeachment inquiry as a lynching. Anderson, who the article quotes as “shocked and appalled” by Trump’s tweet, responded on Twitter:

Anderson provided additional historical context for ABC News article, “Trump’s reference to lynching resurrects painful chapter in US history: Experts.” Anderson is Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies, Chair of African American Studies, and Associated Faculty in the History Department. Read an excerpt from the article below along with the full piece.

“Anderson noted that the majority of lynchings happened during Reconstruction — just after slaves were freed — through the rise of the Jim Crow era laws which codified racial segregation. The acts, which even continued through the civil rights era into the modern age have been used as a way to terrorize black people “back into their place” now that they were no longer enslaved, Anderson said.

“‘How do you put them back into a neo-slavery place? The Jim Crow laws were one mechanism, outright massive domestic terror was the other mechanism,’ Anderson said.”