Saturday, August 22, 2009

Remembering the Lillian Smith Book Award Ceremony for 2008

As we look forward to this year's Lillian Smith Book Award Ceremony, scheduled for August 31, 2014, we also reflect on the moving presentations at the 2008 ceremony.

The first presentation was by Joseph Crespino, author of In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution.
In the 1960s, Mississippi was the heart of white southern resistance to the civil-rights movement. To many, it was a backward-looking society of racist authoritarianism and violence that was sorely out of step with modern liberal America. White Mississippians, however, had a different vision of themselves and their country, one so persuasive that by 1980 they had become important players in Ronald Reagan's newly ascendant Republican Party.
In this ambitious reassessment of racial politics in the deep South, Joseph Crespino reveals how Mississippi leaders strategically accommodated themselves to the demands of civil-rights activists and the federal government seeking to end Jim Crow, and in so doing contributed to a vibrant conservative countermovement. Crespino explains how white Mississippians linked their fight to preserve Jim Crow with other conservative causes--with evangelical Christians worried about liberalism infecting their churches, with cold warriors concerned about the Communist threat, and with parents worried about where and with whom their children were schooled. Crespino reveals important divisions among Mississippi whites, offering the most nuanced portrayal yet of how conservative southerners bridged the gap between the politics of Jim Crow and that of the modern Republican South.
This book lends new insight into how white Mississippians gave rise to a broad, popular reaction against modern liberalism that recast American politics in the closing decades of the twentieth century.
Professor Crespino's presentation was followed by a moving presentation by Wesley Hogan, author of Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC's Dream for a New America.

How did the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee break open the caste system in the American South between 1960 and 1965? In this innovative study, Wesley Hogan explores what SNCC accomplished and, more important, how it fostered significant social change in such a short time. She offers new insights into the internal dynamics of SNCC as well as the workings of the larger civil rights and Black Power movement of which it was a part.
As Hogan chronicles, the members of SNCC created some of the civil rights movement's boldest experiments in freedom, including the sit-ins of 1960, the rejuvenated Freedom Rides of 1961, and grassroots democracy projects in Georgia and Mississippi. She highlights several key players--including Charles Sherrod, Bob Moses, and Fannie Lou Hamer--as innovators of grassroots activism and democratic practice.

Breaking new ground, Hogan shows how SNCC laid the foundation for the emergence of the New Left and created new definitions of political leadership during the civil rights and Vietnam eras. She traces the ways other social movements--such as Black Power, women's liberation, and the antiwar movement--adapted practices developed within SNCC to apply to their particular causes. Many Minds, One Heart ultimately reframes the movement and asks us to look anew at where America stands on justice and equality today.

Join us for this year's ceremony.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
DeKalb County Public Library
Decatur, Georgia

Thursday, August 13, 2009

SRC Continues Tradition of Cutting-Edge Research with New Study of Black-Brown Coalitions

Click here to review the report!

The Southern Regional Council’s predecessor, the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, emerged during the historic “Red Summer” of 1919 – a high water mark of racial division in the United States. For the ensuing ninety years, we have sought to shed light on barriers to the establishment of a just society in the South, and to illuminate a path toward the eradication of those barriers.

The Commission’s publications – including Charles S. Johnson’s Collapse of Cotton Tenancy and Ira Reid’s Sharecroppers All – were instrumental in shaping rural policy for the Roosevelt Administration. The Council’s Ashmore Project resulted in the publication of The Negro in the Schools, which documented the harmful effects of segregation and was cited in the Supreme Court briefing in Brown v. Board of Education. For years, the Council worked to inform the nation's labor policy through its annual reports on The Climate for Workers in the U.S. The Council’s 1998 report, Seeking an America as Good as its Promise, challenged conventional wisdom about white attitudes towards affirmative action remedies. Our 2008 report on Trends in Voting Policy revealed barriers which continue to impede full electoral participation in the South

For most of its history, the Council’s work addressed the paradigm of a South which was made up of two principal communities – one black and one white. In the waning days of the 20th Century, however, the Council began broadening its work to address the impact immigration was beginning to have in our region. The very definition of “minority” in the South had begun to shift, as Latinos and members of other communities of color began to settle in the region, and the Council was one of the first traditional race relations “think tanks” to address this new reality.

In 1999 the Council launched Partnerships for Racial Unity, a first tentative effort to envision bridges of cooperation and multi-racial understanding. We partnered with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) to co-sponsor a series of “Atlanta Parent Workshops” to increase the involvement of Latino parents in the public schools. We collaborated with the University of Memphis Center for Research on Women and the Highlander Center for Research and Education in a community-based research project entitled Race and Nation: Building New Communities for the South. This collaboration resulted in a report entitled The New Latino South, which exposed the challenges which new immigrants face in finding their way in a social landscape defined in many locations by the contentious divide between black and white. We held a series of meetings across the State of Georgia to promote cross-racial progressive coalitions and identify common interests and collaborative opportunities. Notably, our meetings in Dalton and Valdosta, Georgia surfaced important common concerns about the treatment of workers, access to quality health care, and lack of political representation. In one of our statewide gatherings, Latino participants expressed the belief that much could be learned from the experience and struggle of black southerners.

Our experience tells us that African Americans and Latinos in the South often face similar challenges as they seek to achieve their full social and economic potential. Instead of joining forces to achieve goals which they have in common, however, they often see themselves as competing in a “zero-sum-game” for limited social, economic and political opportunities. Standing against this trend are examples in which African-American and Latino communities have come together to work collaboratively around issues of common concern.

With assistance from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Council has embarked on an effort to explore the prospects for collaboration between African American and Latino communities. This effort has been led by Project Director Joel Alvarado and Principal Researcher, Charles Jaret, and much of their work has been informed by focus group participants from four very diverse southern communities. We are deeply grateful to all of the participants for their roles in making this report possible. We believe that this effort has produced insights which will be useful in identifying those conditions which best lend themselves to successful collaborations.

Click here to view the report!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lillian Smith Book Awards for 2009 - Featured Juror

P. Toby Graham
Acting Director, Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Director, Digital Library
University of Georgia

Toby Graham is director of Georgia's collaborative digitization program, which partners with libraries, archives, and other institutions to provide online access to key collections on Georgia history and life. Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) is an initiative of GALILEO, Georgia's virtual library. The DLG endeavors to provide a seamless digital library on the state's history and culture connecting users to 105 digital collections from 65 institutions and 100 agencies of government (approx. 500K objects).

Graham is Acting Director of the Hargrett Library at the University of Georgia, which consists of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, Georgiana Collection, University Archives, and Records Management.

Graham serves as co-director and principal investigator for the Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) initiative (in-process), providing Web-based access to historical news film and related primary sources on the Movement from institutions across the U.S. CRDL also includes an educator resources component designed to aid the use of CRDL in the learning process. CRDL is supported in part by an IMLS National Leadership Grant.

Toby leads digital production for Georgia HomePLACE, a partnership between the Georgia Public Library Service and GALILEO to enhance access to local and family history resources.

Graham oversees the Georgia Newspaper Project (GNP), which microfilms 200 current newspapers on an ongoing basis as well as historical content. The GNP generates approximately 2-3 million pages of microfilmed newsprint annually.

Formerly, Graham served as Head, Special Collections at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Graham earned his Ph.D. in library and information studies, M.L.S., and M.A. in history at the University of Alabama. He is recipient of the Alabama Author Award for Non-Fiction (2004), ALISE/Eugene Garfield Outstanding Dissertation Award (2000), and Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award (1999). He is author of A Right to Read: Segregation and Civil Rights in Alabama's Public Libraries, 1900-1965.