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Gilder-Jordan Lecture to Focus on Voter Suppression

Posted on: October 9th, 2020 by suneetha

Historian and author Carol Anderson set to speak Oct. 13

Historian Carol Anderson is set to discuss the history of voter suppression and how it relates to the right to vote in 2020 for the annual UM Gilder-Jordan Lecture in Southern Cultural History at 6 p.m. Oct. 13. Because of ongoing health concerns, this year’s lecture will be conducted virtually.


With the presidential election only weeks away, voting and how to do so are on the minds of many Americans. A historian who studies public policy with regards to race, justice and equality will visit the University of Mississippi for a discussion of the history of voter suppression and how it relates to the right to vote in 2020.

Carol Anderson, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University, will give the annual Gilder-Jordan Lecture in Southern Cultural History at 6 p.m. Oct. 13. The event will be held virtually this year because of COVID-19 and is open to the public once they register at

Her talk, “One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy,” is also the title of her recent book, which was long-listed for the National Book Award in Non-Fiction and was a finalist for the PEN/Galbraith Book Award in Non-Fiction.

Katie McKee, director of the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture, said she is delighted to welcome Anderson to discuss issues deeply relevant at the moment: voting rights and race in America.

“The Gilder-Jordan lecture gives us, year after year, the opportunity to invite the nation’s leading historians to our stage, and this year is no exception,” McKee said. “We’re excited to be hosting these timely discussions.”

Also on Oct. 13, Anderson will lead a “Black in the Academy” virtual discussion at 4 p.m. for graduate students, facilitated by Shennette Garrett-Scott, UM associate professor of history and African American studies. Anderson’s contributions to the ongoing Twitter conversation “Black in the Ivory,” created by Sharde Davis, amplify the voices of “Blackademics” to speak truth about racism in academia.

Finally, at 6 p.m. Oct. 14, Anderson will participate in a virtual roundtable discussion about voter suppression with Jim Downs and Kevin M. Kruse. The conversation is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the University of Georgia Press as part of the Voting Rights and Community Activism series.

Downs is coeditor of the UGA Press History in the Headlines series and editor of the recent “Voter Suppression in U.S. Elections,” and Kruse studies the political, social and urban/suburban history of 20th-century America.

Ethel Young Scurlock, associate professor of English and African American studies and senior faculty fellow of the Luckyday Residential College, said the lecture will be momentous and Anderson’s words will help people find new ways to examine the role of policy in their own communities.

“Her scholarship digs deep into issues of how policy can impact the everyday lives of U.S. citizens, with special attention to how policy and practices can impact African American communities,” said Scurlock, who is also director of the UM African American studies department.

“Her rigorous research is important because it reminds us that disrupting the impact of racism is not about trying to change hearts of people; it is about changing policies that impact how people are able to exist in their communities.”

Anderson’s research has garnered substantial fellowships and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, National Humanities Center, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (The Big Ten and the University of Chicago) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Noelle Wilson, the UM Croft Associate Professor of History and International Studies, said she looks forward to Anderson’s lecture.

“The history department is thrilled to have Professor Anderson join us in this 2020 election season when remembering hard-won lessons of the past is particularly critical for making certain as broad an electorate as possible participates in our November presidential decision,” said Wilson, also chair of the history department.

“The Gilder-Jordan Lecture is one of the most anticipated events of our fall semester, and we look forward to encouraging students, faculty and the community at large to engage with Anderson’s work through this event.”

Anderson is the author of “Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African-American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955,” which was published by Cambridge University Press and awarded both the Gustavus Myers and Myrna Bernath Book Awards. In her second monograph, “Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960,” also published by Cambridge, Anderson uncovered the long-hidden and important role of the nation’s most powerful civil rights organization in the fight for the liberation of peoples of color in Africa and Asia.

Her third book, “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide,” won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. A New York Times bestseller and New York Times Editor’s Pick, it is listed on the Zora List of 100 Best Books by Black Woman Authors since 1850. Her young adult adaptation of “White Rage, We are Not Yet Equal” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Anderson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Miami University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science, international relations and history. She earned her doctorate in history from Ohio State University.

Organized through the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the African American studies program, Center for Civil War Research and the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, the Gilder-Jordan Speaker Series is made possible through the generosity of the Gilder Foundation. The series honors the late Richard Gilder, of New York, and his family, as well as his friends, Dan and Lou Jordan, of Virginia.

Registration information is available at or by emailing Afton Thomas at

Stories of the Enslaved Rebooted – Don Guillory

Posted on: October 6th, 2020 by suneetha

UM graduate student creates virtual version of ‘slave tour’


Don Guillory, a UM doctoral student in history, presents his research on slavery and enslaved people in Oxford during the 2020 TEDxUniversityofMississippi presentation in February.

“When people don’t have a narrative, they don’t have value in the eyes of the greater society,” said Don Guillory, a doctoral student in the University of Mississippi‘s Arch Dalrymple III Department of History.OXFORD, Miss. – What happens when the life stories of a group are destroyed or distorted?

Guillory has given a voice to the many enslaved people who lived in and around Oxford before the Civil War by illuminating their history in tours of the UM campus, where some of the iconic structures – such as the Lyceum, which houses the chancellor’s office – were built by slave labor.

The tours are an initiative of the UM Slavery Research Group. Created in 2013, the group is composed of faculty and staff working across disciplines to learn more about the history of slavery and enslaved people in Oxford and on the Ole Miss campus.

This fall, Guillory will give the tours via video, a change that he feels will have both positive and negative impacts on the experience.

Because the actual trekking will be eliminated, the video version of the tours will expand their footprint to sites farther from campus. These include Rowan Oak, which was built before the Civil War and purchased by William Faulkner in 1930 as his Oxford home, and was constructed with slave labor.

The tours are an initiative of the UM Slavery Research Group. Created in 2013, the group is composed of faculty and staff working across disciplines to learn more about the history of slavery and enslaved people in Oxford and on the Ole Miss campus.

This fall, Guillory will give the tours via video, a change that he feels will have both positive and negative impacts on the experience. Because the actual trekking will be eliminated, the video version of the tours will expand their footprint to sites farther from campus. These include Rowan Oak, which was built before the Civil War and purchased by William Faulkner in 1930 as his Oxford home, and was constructed with slave labor.

The revamped tours also include Hilgard Cut, a railroad cut constructed by enslaved people in 1858 to bring students to Oxford from other parts of the South; and Burns-Belfry Church, founded in 1910 as the first African American church in Oxford.

“The video tours will have more content but less contact,” Guillory said. “They’ll cover more territory but without face-to-face interaction.”

A primary goal of the tour is to let artifacts and creations of enslaved people create a narrative for their lives that reflects their reality and voice. The narratives can be “challenging” because they present an alternative reality to the stories that slave-owning families created about the people they held in bondage and their relationships with them, Guillory said.

For years, slave owners spread a false narrative that often served as an “official” history of slavery, one that was accepted not only regionally, but nationally.

Guillory underscored his point in a TEDxUniversityofMississippi presentation in February 2020. He compared lost narratives to “missing threads in the fabric of humanity,” a fabric he hopes to reweave.

“The history department is thrilled to support graduate students engaging in public history projects like this tour because they connect a broad audience of not only university community members, but also Oxford residents, such as high school students, to the work of professional historians,” said Noell Wilson, associate professor and chair of the department.

“We are grateful for Don’s ingenuity and technical savvy in moving the tours online during the pandemic and are optimistic that the tours will now reach an even larger audience through this virtual platform.”


Women’s Suffrage and Black Women with Professor Shennette Garrett-Scott

Posted on: October 2nd, 2020 by suneetha

Professor Joan Waugh – The Civil War in History and in Memory

Posted on: September 28th, 2020 by suneetha

To attend the virtual Lecture, please register at:

Professor Robert Fleegler Publishes in Washington Post

Posted on: September 17th, 2020 by suneetha

On May 15, 2020, Instructional Associate Professor Robert Fleegler published the piece below in the “Made by History” section of the Washington Post.

“If President Trump loses in 2020, it won’t be because of Joe Biden”
By Robert Fleegler
May 15, 2020

Democrats are fretting as Joe Biden is unable to actively campaign because of the coronavirus, fearing it’s costing him valuable time that he needs to make the case against Donald Trump. But they need not worry. Only three incumbent presidents who have been elected in their own right — Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — have lost their reelection bids in the past 90 years and history shows that they weren’t defeated because their opponents ran stellar campaigns, even if they went on to be influential presidents themselves. Rather external events and incumbent missteps turned the campaigns into referendums on the man in the office. The challenger needed to do relatively little to take advantage of what circumstance provided.

When Hoover was elected in 1928, he was one of the most respected figures in the entire country. He had organized food relief to war-torn Europe during World War I and been an able Secretary of Commerce for Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Even a member of the opposing party, Woodrow Wilson’s assistant secretary of the Navy, Franklin Roosevelt, was moved to say in 1920 that Hoover “is certainly a wonder and I wish we could make him president of the United States. There could not be a better one.” Unfortunately for Hoover, the stock market crashed a mere seven months into his presidency and while it was certainly not his fault, he didn’t take aggressive action to rescue the economy as the Great Depression got underway. Eerily reminiscent of President Trump’s declarations that the pandemic was over just as it was beginning, Hoover repeatedly declared that prosperity was around the corner, showing himself to be out of touch with his desperate constituents. The country dubbed neighborhoods filled with unemployed people “Hoovervilles” in his honor.

While Roosevelt is today recalled as the godfather of 20th century activist government and one of America’s greatest presidents, when he ran in 1932 his campaign featured no exceptional program or clear ideology. Indeed, Roosevelt espoused contradictory themes, on one hand calling for bigger government and on another attacking Hoover for failing to balance the budget. “I regard reduction of federal spending as one of the most important issues in the campaign,” the candidate declared. Even his own advisers were left perplexed as to his governing policy. But it didn’t matter in the end, with 25 percent of the country out of work and little hope on the horizon, Roosevelt won easily in a landslide.

Jimmy Carter encountered similar problems and like his fellow engineer Hoover, did not handle them well. The unprecedented combination of high inflation and high unemployment that plagued the Me Decade — which became known as “stagflation”— intensified during Carter’s term of office in the late 1970s. Faced with these travails, Carter addressed the country via national television in July 1979 to talk not about these bread-and-butter concerns, but rather what he saw as the nation’s dangerous loss of faith in its major institutions. “The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence,” he explained, “It is a crisis of confidence that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will.” To some it seemed that he was blaming the American people for the nation’s difficulties and what became known as the “malaise” speech backfired on the former Georgia governor.

Things only got worse for Carter when Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran a few months later in November, taking 52 Americans hostage. In the short term, the country rallied around the president — just as they did early in the pandemic to Trump — helping Carter push back a primary challenge from Ted Kennedy. But as the saga wore on, it crippled his presidency and by extension the whole country as it dominated the national discussion. The crisis, along with a failed attempt to rescue the hostages, made Carter seem like a weak and ineffectual leader.

While Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980 is often remembered as an inevitable step in the country’s turn to the right, polls remained close as the candidates’ first and only debate approached a week before the election. Demonstrating the centrality of the incumbent’s performance to the outcome, Reagan famously asked those watching at home, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” with most answering “no” to themselves — just as they would have if Roosevelt had posed the same question in 1932. Carter’s fate was then sealed when last-minute negotiations to bring the hostages home fell through, paving the way for the Reagan landslide.

George H.W. Bush’s defeat in 1992 seemed far less likely than Hoover’s or Carter’s as his presidency got off to a roaring start. The end of the Cold War in 1989 along with the triumph in the 1991 Persian Gulf War produced record approval ratings for Bush. Prominent Democratic challengers like Bill Bradley, Dick Gephardt and Al Gore decided to forgo a race against a seemingly invincible incumbent. Only far lesser-known candidates like former Sen. Paul Tsongas and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton were willing to enter the fray.

While Clinton is now remembered as a once-in-a-generation political talent, many held profound doubts about his electability in the spring of 1992. He had nearly destroyed his political career with a disastrous speech at the 1988 Democratic convention and many saw his alleged womanizing as well as his efforts to avoid the Vietnam-era draft as potentially fatal liabilities. “We have to recognize reality,” declared Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey Sr. in April 1992, “We are not producing a nominee who has a good crack at winning in November.” As late as June, Clinton was behind not only Bush, but also independent Texas billionaire Ross Perot — who in many ways was a progenitor of Trump — who led both career politicians at that point.

But in the end the fundamentals were almost enough on their own as the recession of 1990-91 and the jobless recovery that followed eroded Bush’s postwar popularity. Furthermore, he was seeking a fourth straight term for his party, a difficult challenge in any democracy and something that had not happened in the United States since Roosevelt and Harry Truman led the Democrats to five consecutive victories in the 1930s and 1940s. An anti-establishment mood took hold in the country, opening the door for a Washington outsider. But Perot first shockingly dropped out in July and then was not nearly as much of a threat when he surprisingly reentered the race in October. With Bush weighed down by the economy and the country fatigued after 12 years of Republican control of the White House, Clinton made “change” his mantra to win by a considerable margin in the electoral college, though he only won a plurality of the popular vote.

None of this means that covid-19 spells Trump’s defeat for sure in the fall. It just means that Biden’s chances to win will likely be determined by forces beyond his control rather than by how much he’s able to get out on the trail. And it is a reminder that in electoral politics, chance and circumstance often matter more than strategy or political skill.

The Arch Dalrymple III Department of History welcomes Fall 2020-2021 History Majors

Posted on: September 3rd, 2020 by suneetha

Professor Frances Kneupper Granted Fellowship in Budapest

Posted on: September 3rd, 2020 by suneetha

Frances Kneupper will write a scholarly study of Medieval prophets


Frances Kneupper, associate professor in the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History at the University of Mississippi, has been honored as a 2020-21 senior fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Central European University.

Founded in 2011 in Budapest, Hungary, the institute promotes scholarly research in the context of an intellectual interdisciplinary community. It annually grants up to 30 fellowships to scholars from around the world focusing on social sciences, humanities, law and art.

Kneupper, a cultural historian of religion whose research focuses on heresy, prophecy and religious dissent in the Holy Roman Empire, is scheduled to leave for Budapest in October. The first senior fellow at the institute from Ole Miss will work on her second book project, “Beware of False Prophets: The Contest over Prophecy in the Late Middle Ages.”

“Beware of False Prophets” examines how several groups of Medieval women in Europe declared themselves prophets – a phenomenon typically limited to the realm of men – and were fiercely opposed by their male contemporaries.

“This was an argument about whether women should have a voice and authority,” Kneupper said. “You can see the same dynamics still being played out today when women try to claim power in a male-dominated sphere. This is a universal issue.”

Her other scholarly works include “The Empire at the End of Time: Identity and Reform in Late Medieval Germany Prophecy” (Oxford University Press, 2016) and a digital textbook, “Foundations of Western Culture Through 1500” (Great River Learning, 2015).

“Frances is an innovative researcher and well-known interpreter of the Medieval world for both lay and academic audiences,” said Noell Wilson, UM associate professor and chair of history. “She is respected for her scholarship and teaching alike.

“We are thrilled that she has this next year to complete her current book project while also cultivating intellectual bridges with historians in Budapest and Europe more broadly.”

Professor Garrett Felber Wins Fellowship at Harvard

Posted on: August 17th, 2020 by suneetha


Garrett Felber will focus on writing two books examining African Americans and imprisonment

Garrett Felber

Garrett Felber


University of Mississippi history professor is set to begin a one-year fellowship at the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research in September.

Garrett Felber, assistant professor of history at UM, is among just 16 chosen fellows this year. Founded in 1975, the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute annually grants up to 20 scholars from across the world to perform individual research at either the predoctoral or postdoctoral level into an array of topics related to African and African American studies.

Felber will spend the year working on two book projects: “We Are All Political Prisoners: The Revolutionary Life of Martin Sostre” and “The Norfolk Plan: The Community Prison in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” Both works will focus on different aspects of Felber’s primary research topic: 20th-century African American social movements, Black radicalism and efforts to reform or abolish prisons.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Felber will be working remotely from Oregon.

“This fellowship will allow me the time to work on two important projects that I hope will advance the understanding not only of the specific topics, but of the relationship between Black people in America and the carceral state,” Felber said.

Felber is the author of “Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement and the Carceral State” (UNC Press, 2020) and co-author of “The Portable Malcolm X Reader” with the late Manning Marable (Penguin Classics, 2013). Felber’s work has been published in the Journal of American History, Journal of African American History, Journal of Social History and Souls.

He also served as lead organizer for the Making and Unmaking Mass Incarceration conference and is project director of the Parchman Oral History Project, a collaborative oral history, archival and documentary storytelling project on incarceration in Mississippi. He co-founded Liberation Literacy, an abolitionist collective inside and outside Oregon prisons, and spearheaded the Prison Abolitionist Syllabus, a reading list published by Black Perspectives that highlighted and contextualized the prison strikes of 2016 and 2018.

Felber not only researches and writes about prisons; he teaches in them. In Mississippi, he has taught two classes at Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs.

“Garrett is an indefatigable researcher and community builder whose knowledge of the carceral state stems not merely from archival digging, but also from his volunteer engagement with prisons as a teacher,” said Noell Wilson, professor and chair of the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History.

“We are thrilled with this award because it both recognizes his national profile in the field of African American history and provides critical space for him to advance two pioneering interpretive projects.”

Professor Paul Polgar Named a Finalist for the 2020 Harriet Tubman Prize

Posted on: August 7th, 2020 by suneetha

Standard-Bearers of Equality


Congrats to Professor Paul Polgar, one of the three finalists for the 2020 Harriet Tubman Prize, which honors the best notification book on the slave trade, slavery & anti-slavery in the Atlantic World.  The winner will be announced in November 2020.




Non-US History Faculty Statement on Confederate Monument Relocation

Posted on: June 27th, 2020 by suneetha

We, the undersigned historians of the University of Mississippi, join our colleagues in American history in repudiating the plans to renovate the university cemetery as part of the Confederate monument relocation. We agree that the University must explicitly renounce the white supremacist ideology that the monument represents. The proposed plans for the cemetery perpetuate this ideology.

In keeping with the assessment of our late colleague, John Neff, a scholar of memory and commemoration in the Civil War, we particularly reject the placement of headstones at the Confederate cemetery. We support our colleagues’ statement of June 22, 2020, share their opposition to the redevelopment of the cemetery, and demand the immediate release of all records concerning the University’s decision-making process on these matters.

Jesse Cromwell
Chiarella Esposito
Lester L. Field
Joshua First
Joshua Howard
Vivian Ibrahim
Zachary Kagan Guthrie
Frances Kneupper
Marc H. Lerner
Theresa Levitt
Alexandra Lindgren-Gibson
Mohammed Bashir Salau
Isaac Stephens
Peter Thilly
Nicolas Trepanier
Jeffrey R. Watt
Noell Wilson