Archive for January, 2010

Glen Browder Receives National Attention for Stealth Reconstruction

Friday, January 29th, 2010 by Andrew

NewSouth author and former politician Glen Browder is receiving national attention for his new book Stealth Reconstruction: The Untold Story of Racial Politics in Recent Southern History, in which he and co-author Artemesia Stanberry discuss the fascinating history of the unheroic, quiet, practical, biracial work of some white politicians and black leaders.

Browder recently discussed Stealth Reconstruction on C-Span’s national call-in program Washington Journal, and also spoke on a panel along with scholar Artemesia Stanberry and former members of Congress Butler Derrick and Eva Clayton at a special event at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. which was also filmed by C-Span’s Book-TV.

Richard Cohen of National Journal recently reviewed Stealth Reconstruction. “Browder’s book raises many interesting questions,” Cohen said. “And it seems all the more timely as another group of moderate southern Democrats faces serious political challenges this year.”

Roll Call, one of Washington D.C.’s primary news sources covering Capitol Hill, also recently reviewed Stealth Reconstruction, saying “Stealth Reconstruction does more than just fill in the gaps, though. The authors’ authoritative research and Browder’s first-person account of his political career, which serves as a case study, represent a noteworthy contribution to civil rights scholarship.”

Dr. Glen Browder is Professor Emeritus of American Democracy at Jacksonville State University in Alabama; he served as U.S. Congressman, Alabama’s Secretary of State, and Alabama State Legislator. He is also the author of NewSouth published The South’s New Racial Politics: Inside the Race Game of Southern History, an original thesis on how blacks and whites in today’s South engage in a politics that is qualitatively different from the past.

Stealth Reconstruction is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online retailer.

Paul Gaston Editorial Remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010 by Andrew

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star recently ran an op-ed piece, written by NewSouth author and historian Paul Gaston, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and discussing his lasting influence on race relations and politics in the United States.

Gaston fondly recalls memories of meeting King while a professor at the University of Virginia over forty years ago, but focuses also on what he considers the modern misinterpretations by right-wing America of King’s radical message, as well as its assault on civil rights over the last generation.

From the article:

“King’s statement that his ‘dream is deeply rooted in the American dream’ is interpreted to discredit his radicalism; and his hope for the day when people would be judged ‘by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.’ It is enlisted in the battle against all legislation and programs that might help undo the effects of three and a half centuries of racial exclusion.”

Read the full article at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

Paul Gaston’s life and work has earned him a reputation as one of the most respected southern historians in the country, and his new memoir, Coming of Age in Utopia: The Odyssey of an Idea, chronicles his life as an agent of change from the shores of Mobile Bay, Alabama to the streets and classrooms of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.

Coming of Age in Utopia is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online retailer.

Remembering Bay of Pigs Veteran Joe Shannon

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 by Lisa Harrison

Bay of Pigs veteran Joe Shannon of Birmingham, who died on January 5, was remembered in an Associated Press article carried by the Montgomery Advertiser and According to the story, Shannon was “one of the few surviving American pilots who participated in the failed invasion of Cuba in 1961.”

From the article:

Shannon was among about 60 Alabama National Guard members who were recruited to help in the invasion. He both trained Cuban pilots and flew a last-ditch mission into Cuba before the invasion failed…

Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press in 2006, Shannon described turning his B-26 bomber into the path of a Cuban T-33 fighter and staying out of the pilot’s sight by hugging the ocean…

“It was the only way I had to escape,” said Shannon, who was barred from publicly discussing his role in the invasion for years because of national security…

Wings of Denial, published by NewSouth Books, reveals the complete story of four Alabama Air National Guardsmen who died in the invasion. After nearly four decades of government concealment, the names of these airmen were made known and memorialized at the CIA’s Wall of Honor in Langley, Virginia. Military historian Warren Trest tells their stories in a book sure to spark the interest of readers seeking information about Alabama soldiers’ roles in this important episode of American history.

Wings of Denial is available from NewSouth Books.

AP and NY Times Regional Media Group Help New Book on Wright Brothers Take Off

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by Lisa Harrison

Lift off is what planes do, but Julie Williams, author of Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, Alabama, 1901, newly published by NewSouth Books, says she is flying sky high thanks to recent articles by Jay Reeves at the Associated Press and Dana Beyerle of the New York Times Regional Media Group respectively. Their stories on her new book have been picked up by literally dozens of papers in the last few days, ranging from the Charlotte Observer to the Zanesville Times Recorder, the Rocky Mount Telegram, to the USA Today online edition.

From the AP story:

Williams was born at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and raised in North Carolina, where the Wrights made the first powered airplane flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. It seemed only natural for her to research the Wrights’ time in Alabama after she moved to the state.

“I just couldn’t resist it,” she said. “I am just driven to read Wright brothers stuff. I always have been.”

Historian George Cully of Maxwell Air Force Base, which was built on the site of the Wright school, said the brothers made some important innovations while in Montgomery, including adding a stabilizer to their airplane and making a series of nighttime flights.

“It’s a great story, and she has done a great job of mining the essential source, which was the newspaper,” he said.

Author Julie Williams is busy enthusiastically sharing the little-known story of the nation’s first civilian flight school and its reception by local newspapers in interviews and at book signings, including upcoming appearances at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, AL on January 9, the Avondale Regional Library in Birmingham on January 26, Beehive Coffee & Books in Monroeville, AL on February 5, Samford University Faculty Shop Talk on February 16, and a Brown Bag Lunch at the Birmingham Public Library on March 31.

Spike Lee’s Son of the South, Bob Zellner story, begins Alabama filming

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 by Andrew

Alabama recently played host to film crews as the cities of Greenville and Montgomery saw college students from across central Alabama cast as extras in Son of the South, a Spike Lee produced film based on NewSouth author Bob Zellner’s memoir The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement.

Director Barry Alexander Brown, a Montgomery native and longtime film editor for Spike Lee, chose Greenville’s Court Square Cafe to film a lunch counter sit-in scene for the upcoming film. Film crews then moved on for a day of shooting in Montgomery and will be completing filming during the summer of 2010. Son of the South is set for release in 2011.

The Wrong Side of Murder Creek chronicles Zellner’s lifetime of civil rights activism, from his childhood as the son and grandson of Klansmen to field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In the early 1960s he joined ranks with the black students who were sitting-in, marching, fighting, and sometimes dying to challenge the southern “way of life” he had been raised on but rejected.

Zellner received the 2009 Lillian Smith Book Award for The Wrong Side of Murder Creek.

Read more about the local filming in the Greenville Advocate.

The Wrong Side of Murder Creek is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.