NewSouth author and preeminent southern historian Paul Gaston has received high praise from those attending recent events in support of his new memoir Coming of Age in Utopia: The Odyssey of an Idea.
Gaston was recently the guest of honor at the AFL-CIO where civil rights activist Julian Bond spoke and introduced him to a large and receptive crowd. Gaston discussed his new memoir, which highlights his life as a southern historian and social justice advocate during his time in Charlottesville as a professor of history at the University of Virginia.
Renowned author and academic Vernon Burton, who attended the AFL-CIO event, sang Gaston’s praises. “What a wonderful testament to a life so well lived and to what an academic can do,” he said. “I might add that [Gaston] was, and is, a model for many of us who were not his students at UVA as well.”
Event organizer and former Gaston student Roger Hickey also spoke highly of his mentor. He said, “Bob Welsh and I organized this book event because in the 1960s, we had the exciting experience of being students of Paul Gaston, the most courageous professor at the University of Virginia. At the conservative UVA of that time, Paul Gaston was our hero.”
Gaston also recently spoke, along with another former student and SNCC historian Andrew Lewis, at an event hosted by the University of Richmond. Gaston and Lewis discussed their recently published books with a focus on the role sit-ins and nonviolent resistance played in the civil rights movement.
Watch the entire University of Richmond program at C-Span’s Book TV.