Amid the soaring oratory of Martin Luther King and the fiery rhetoric of George Wallace, scholars who worked with the Southern Regional Council during the civil rights movement spoke quietly, but with the authority of informed reason. Prominent among them was Professor Paul Gaston of the University of Virginia, who co-authored an influential analysis of school segregation, served as president of the SRC board, and authored The New South Creed.
Gaston’s legacy of service includes his role as a mentor of historians. He oversaw more than two dozen dissertations at UVA from 1957 to the year 2000. These illuminated important aspects of the South and the civil rights movement while contributing to the growth of community and organizational studies within the field of social history. The articles in this Festschrift feature essays that he inspired among his students and colleagues.
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About the Author
Edward Ayers is Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond. His major publications include The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction (1992); In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America (2003); and The Thin Light of Freedom: Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (2017). He and Paul Gaston were colleagues on the history faculty at the University of Virginia from 1980 until the latter’s retirement in 1997.
Robert J. Norrell is a native of Hazel Green, Alabama. He holds the Bernadotte Schmitt Chair of Excellence at the University of Tennessee. After earning a B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, Norrell taught at Birmingham-Southern College and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. His 2009 biography, Up from History: the Life of Booker T. Washington, was received with national acclaim. In 2005 he published a well-reviewed interpretation of U.S. race relations, The House I Live In: Race in the American Century. His Reaping the Whirlwind: The Civil Rights Movement in Tuskegee won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 1986. He is the author of seven additional books and twenty scholarly articles. Eden Rise is his first work of fiction.