New light on Alabama history

Getting back to town, I just learned that Susan Youngblood Ashmore’s book received two prizes at the Southern Historical Association meeting in Louisville. I’m doubly pleased because Ashmore earned her doctorate at Auburn and because her book is a contribution to the modern history of my home state. It’s another sign that the historiography of the civil rights era is getting better and more significant all the time.

The book is Carry It On: The War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, 1964-1972. For those quick to raise objections, Ashmore is not claiming that there was no movement before 1964. Rather, her work focuses on how the movement fared at the local level, especially in the Alabama Black Belt, after key legislative victories at the federal level. It is not a story with a happy ending, as any Alabamian knows who has spent time in Eutaw or Camden or White Hall.

Add one to the reading list, along with Wayne Flynt’s Alabama in the Twentieth Century and David Carter’s The Music Has Gone Out of the Movement.

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