Pamela Grundy: Color and Character

Pamela Grundy: Color and CharacterOur Fall Preview today features Color and Character: West Charlotte High School and the American Struggle over Educational Equality by Pamela Grundy. The end of July means the end of summer, and more importantly, back-to-school planning. What better way to stay in the know than with our timely new book? Just in time for the start of the school year, Color and Character will prove a significant addition to the education debate and an aid in solving education issues. Pre-order your copy to stay informed!

At a time when race and inequality dominate national debates, the story of West Charlotte High School illuminates the possibilities and challenges of using racial and economic desegregation to foster educational equality. West Charlotte opened in 1938 as a segregated school that embodied the aspirations of the growing African American population of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the 1970s, when Charlotte began court-ordered busing, black and white families made West Charlotte the celebrated flagship of the most integrated major school system in the nation. But as the twentieth century neared its close and a new court order eliminated race-based busing, Charlotte schools resegregated along lines of class as well as race. West Charlotte became the city’s poorest, lowest-performing high school—a striking reminder of the people and places that Charlotte’s rapid growth had left behind. While dedicated teachers continue to educate children, the school’s challenges underscore the painful consequences of resegregation.

Drawing on nearly two decades of interviews with students, educators, and alumni, Pamela Grundy uses the history of a community’s beloved school to tell a broader American story of education, community, democracy, and race—all while raising questions about present-day strategies for school reform.

Historian, author, and activist Pamela Grundy lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she pursues a variety of writing, teaching, and museum projects. Her previous books include the award-winning Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina. Recently featured in an article in The Washington Post, Pamela is at the forefront of the education debate. Follow Pamela on Twitter for more updates.

“In this remarkably moving book, Pamela Grundy uses vivid accounts from West Charlotte High students, teachers, parents, and community members as a sophisticated lens through which to understand major changes in national educational policy over the past fifty years.”

—John Charles Boger, University of North Carolina School of Law

Emily Herring Wilson: The Three Graces of Val-Kill

Emily Herring Wilson: The Three Graces of Val-KillWe’re continuing our Fall Preview today with a feature on The Three Graces of Val-Kill: Eleanor Roosevelt, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook in the Place They Made Their Own by Emily Herring Wilson, which focuses fully for the first time on the relationship of Eleanor and the “three graces”, as well as her time at Val-Kill. The biography also sheds new light  on the tumultuous time for Eleanor as FDR ascended to the governorship and eventually the presidency, revealing the changing nature of her relationships at this time. Don’t forget to pre-order!


The Three Graces of Val-Kill changes the way we think about Eleanor Roosevelt. Emily Herring Wilson examines what she calls the most formative period in Roosevelt’s life, from 1922 to 1936, when she cultivated an intimate friendship with Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, who helped her build a cottage on the Val-Kill Creek in Hyde Park on the Roosevelt family land. In the early years, the three women—the “three graces,” as Franklin Delano Roosevelt called them—were nearly inseparable and forged a female-centered community for each other, for family, and for New York’s progressive women. Examining this network of close female friends gives readers a more comprehensive picture of the Roosevelts and Eleanor’s burgeoning independence in the years that marked Franklin’s rise to power in politics.

Wilson takes care to show all the nuances and complexities of the women’s relationship, which blended the political with the personal. Val-Kill was not only home to Eleanor Roosevelt but also a crucial part of how she became one of the most admired American political figures of the twentieth century. In Wilson’s telling, she emerges out of the shadows of monumental histories and documentaries as a woman in search of herself.

Emily Herring Wilson author photoEmily Herring Wilson resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is author of No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence and coauthor of North Carolina Women: Making History.


Want a sneak peek of what’s coming up? Browse through our online catalog!

Earl J. Hess: The Battle of Peach Tree Creek

Earl Hess: The Battle of Peach Tree CreekCan you believe the fall season is almost upon us? July is racing by, so now we’re turning our attention to our amazing line-up of fall books. We’ll be highlighting a few of our picks this week on the blog. First up—The Battle of Peach Tree Creek by Earl J. Hess.


Famed Civil War historian Earl J. Hess is releasing the latest title in the Civil War America series this fall! The Battle of Peach Tree Creek: Hood’s First Effort to Save Atlanta is now available for pre-order—just in time to reserve your copy around the anniversary of the battle.

On July 20, 1864, the Civil War struggle for Atlanta reached a pivotal moment. As William T. Sherman’s Union forces came ever nearer the city, the defending Confederate Army of Tennessee replaced its commanding general, removing Joseph E. Johnston and elevating John Bell Hood. This decision stunned and demoralized Confederate troops just when Hood was compelled to take the offensive against the approaching Federals. Attacking northward from Atlanta’s defenses, Hood’s men struck George H. Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland just after it crossed Peach Tree Creek on July 20. Initially taken by surprise, the Federals fought back with spirit and nullified all the advantages the Confederates first enjoyed. As a result, the Federals achieved a remarkable defensive victory.

Offering new and definitive interpretations of the battle’s place within the Atlanta campaign, Earl J. Hess describes how several Confederate regiments and brigades made a pretense of advancing but then stopped partway to the objective and took cover for the rest of the afternoon on July 20. Hess shows that morale played an unusually important role in determining the outcome at Peach Tree Creek—a soured mood among the Confederates and overwhelming confidence among the Federals spelled disaster for one side and victory for the other.

“Earl Hess is one of our finest Civil War military historians, and he’s done another masterful job in The Battle of Peach Tree Creek. Through impeccable scholarship, Hess not only clearly describes the battle’s tactical history but also places the fight into the larger context of the Atlanta campaign and the Civil War.”—A. Wilson Greene, author of The Final Battles of the Petersburg Campaign: Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion

Award-winning historian Earl J. Hess is author of many books on Civil War history, including Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man of the Confederacy.

Interview: Brian Tochterman on the “Summer of Hell”

Brian Tochterman, author of The Dying City: Postwar New York and the Ideology of Fear, talks with publicity director Gina Mahalek about what E.B. White, Mickey Spillane, Death Wish, hip-hop, and the “Summer of Hell” have in common.

cover photo for tochtermanGina Mahalek: Where are you from and how did you get interested in this topic?

Brian Tochterman: I grew up in the Midwest, Green Bay, Wisconsin to be exact, and on a whim I moved to New York City a few months after I graduated from college. You could say that, in some respects, I embodied the kind of dreamer that E.B. White wrote about in “Here is New York”—I wanted to work in film production. That proved a bit of a dead-end, and New York being New York, I needed a job if I wanted to stay. I worked for NYC Parks Department for a few years under Giuliani and Bloomberg before going to graduate school to study urban planning— an interest that grew out of my experience across the five boroughs.

Whenever I’d go back to Green Bay and run into family and old friends they’d ask, “Isn’t it scary living in New York?” I often heard that from people who had never been to New York. At that time, though, it was already the safest large city in the country. As I matriculated through graduate school, first in planning and then studying history, I became interested in how that image evolved. How could someone who never encountered a place assume such knowledge, and how could they be so wrong yet so convinced they are right? Of course, the answer is popular culture and its representations of the city. My father is a cop, so I’ve always been intrigued by crime and crime fears. Take a Midwest upbringing, add a move to the big city, mix in some cultural studies and graduate work in city planning and U.S. postwar history, and a touch of evil and voilà, you have the recipe for The Dying City.

Continue Reading Interview: Brian Tochterman on the “Summer of Hell”

Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon

Plan on making a summer getaway to the mountains? Or in need of a perfect gift? Randy Johnson’s Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon can help with both! Grandfather Mountain highlights the natural beauty and history of one of North Carolina’s best known landmarks. This fabulous book was a finalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and also just won two prestigious awards:

  • First Place and Best in Show 2017 Writing and Photography Contest, Eastern Chapter, Society of American Travel Writers
  • 2016 Foreword INDIES Winner for Travel (Adult Nonfiction)

With its prominent profile recognizable for miles around and featuring vistas among the most beloved in the Appalachians, North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is many things to many people: an easily recognized landmark along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a popular tourist destination, a site of annual Highland Games, and an internationally recognized nature preserve. In this definitive book on Grandfather, Randy Johnson guides readers on a journey through the mountain’s history, from its geological beginnings millennia ago and the early days of exploration to its role in regional development and eventual establishment as a North Carolina state park. Along the way, he shows how Grandfather has changed, and has been changed by, the people of western North Carolina and beyond.

Continue Reading Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon

Sarah S. Elkind: Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now

Elkind: How Local Politics Shape Federal PolicyWe welcome a blog post today from Sarah S. Elkind  author of How Local Politics Shape Federal Policy: Business, Power, and the Environment in Twentieth-Century Los AngelesFocusing on five Los Angeles environmental policy debates between 1920 and 1950, Sarah Elkind investigates how practices in American municipal government gave business groups political legitimacy at the local level as well as unanticipated influence over federal politics.

Revealing the huge disparities between big business groups and individual community members in power, influence, and the ability to participate in policy debates, Elkind shows that business groups secured their political power by providing Los Angeles authorities with much-needed services, including studying emerging problems and framing public debates. As a result, government officials came to view business interests as the public interest. When federal agencies looked to local powerbrokers for project ideas and political support, local business interests influenced federal policy, too. 

In the following post, Elkind looks at how energy corporations are wielding their influence in the public school system and the dire consequences that will arise from it. 


Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now

In 1927, the Federal Trade Commission announced that America’s electric utility companies had spent the previous decade engaged in a concerted propaganda campaign against public ownership of electrical systems. The utilities subsidized academic research, planted newspaper editorials, and created curriculum for public schools all to bolster support for the private utility industry. This was, the Federal Trade Commission found, an astonishingly systematic, coordinated, and well-orchestrated campaign to change public opinion. It was also highly effective:  public support for government ownership of electrical power fell steadily in the 1930s in spite of these and other damning revelations and scandals.

Why did the National Electric Light Association and other utility trade groups work so hard to change public opinion in the 1910s and 1920s? In 1915, Congress required public development of hydroelectric power at all federal flood control and irrigation dams. Public support for government-owned utilities was at an all-time high. Cities invested in waterworks, gas and electrical grids, and transportation networks to improve public services and lower consumer costs. In New York, scandal erupted as a firm controlled by Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon secured a lease to generate electricity at Niagara Falls. Debate raged, too, over whether the federal government should complete a massive hydroelectric power and fertilizer complex at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and whether the Bureau of Reclamation should build Hoover Dam. Private utilities spent over a million dollars a year (nearly fourteen million in 2017 dollars) to defeat Muscle Shoals and Hoover Dam, because they felt their future access to markets and water resources, their very survival, was at stake.

Continue Reading Sarah S. Elkind: Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now

Excerpt: Living at the Water’s Edge by Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher

Garrity-Blake and Amspacher: Living at the Water's EdgeThe Outer Banks National Scenic Byway received its designation in 2009, an act that stands as a testament to the historical and cultural importance of the communities linked along the North Carolina coast from Whalebone Junction across to Hatteras and Ocracoke Island and down to the small villages of the Core Sound region. This rich heritage guide introduces readers to the places and people that have made the route and the region a national treasure. Welcoming visitors on a journey across sounds and inlets into villages and through two national seashores, Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher share the stories of people who have shaped their lives out of saltwater and sand. The book considers how the Outer Banks residents have stood their ground and maintained a vibrant way of life while adapting to constant change that is fundamental to life where water meets the land.

Heavily illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, Living at the Water’s Edge will lead readers to the proverbial porch of the Outer Banks locals, extending a warm welcome to visitors while encouraging them to understand what many never see or hear: the stories, feelings, and meanings that offer a cultural dimension to the byway experience and deepen the visitor’s understanding of life on the tideline.

In the following excerpt (pp. 7-12), Barbara and Karen share the past dangers of the North Carolina coast for ships and the lighthouses that saved them.



I’ve seen right many boats hit the shores of this island. Some of them they got off, and some of them busted up. —Anderson Midgett, Hatteras Island

“Graveyard of the Atlantic” is a well-earned moniker for North Carolina’s coastal waters. Hundreds of vessels have sunk or broken apart in the deadly combination of quick-changing weather, dynamic currents, and hidden shoals along what was once a key shipping route between New York and Charleston. The Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras are especially notorious for dooming ship after ship in their attempts to round the cape en route to northern or southern ports.

Shipwrecks were once so frequent that the state appointed commissioners to manage wreck auctions called “vendues.” Well into the twentieth century, banks dwellers and mainlanders alike gathered on the beach to bid on sails, turnbuckles, barrels, lanterns, ropes, and cargo. Lumber wasn’t easy to come by; planking was coveted as building material. The Salvo Assembly of God Church was built from the timbers of the G. A. Kohler, a grand four-masted schooner wrecked on the beach between Avon and Salvo during the ’33 Storm. Many old houses have beams, joists, and other materials salvaged from a wreck.

One of the worst wrecks in American history occurred off North Carolina in 1837. The steam packet Home, en route from New York to Charleston, encountered the Racer’s Storm and broke apart off Ocracoke. Ninety of the 135 people aboard—many of them women and children—drowned. The vessel was equipped with only two life jackets. The dead were buried by Ocracoke villagers, as a lifesaving station wasn’t established on the island until 1905. The tragedy of the Home received national press coverage and led to the federal requirement that all vessels carry life preservers for each passenger. Shipwrecks like the Home brought to light the need for the establishment of lifesaving stations up and down the nation’s coasts.

The village of Portsmouth, made up of 150 souls in 1900, once cared for shipwreck victims whose numbers far exceeded the population of the small community. The 605-ton brig Vera Cruz VII wrecked offshore in 1903, bringing forth 421 Cape Verde Islanders needing food, clothes, and a dry bed. Every villager was enlisted to help. A Portsmouth Islander recalled, “Some of the foreigners ran away from the station crew and crawled through the marshes to beg for food at the homes. We fed them when they came.” The villagers used up all the flour in the community to feed these weary victims of the sea.


No matter how hard the winds blow around her, she will stand, wrapped in diamonds, giving us strength every time we see her light come around. —Madge Guthrie, Harkers Island

A light piercing the darkness gives hope and helps orient the lost. No wonder the lighthouse has become a symbol for strength and guidance. Outer Banks lighthouses have long provided an essential navigational aid to ship’s captains, whether the steady burning, fixed light on Ocracoke or the flashing beacons of Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, or Cape Lookout towers. Not only do the lights alert mariners as to how close they are to shore and shoals, but the timing of the beam is specific to its location along the shore. If the flash occurs every fifteen seconds, the crew knows they are near Cape Lookout, no matter how dark or foggy it may be. If it flashes every seven and a half seconds, the Cape Hatteras light is their guide.

The U.S. Congress, alarmed at the growing number of shipwrecks, authorized the first North Carolina lighthouse in 1794. It was to be built on Cape Hatteras, the most treacherous part of the coastline. Vessel captains declared the light to be faint and sorry. The 90-foot tower was raised to 150 feet in 1854 and fitted with a powerful Fresnel lens. Today’s black-and-white spiral tower was built in 1870 and was moved to higher ground in 1999. At 208 feet Cape Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse in America.

Another lighthouse was built on Shell Castle Island in 1798 to serve ships carrying cargo through Ocracoke Inlet. Today’s 65-foot-high, solid-white structure was built on Ocracoke in 1823, emitting a nonflashing, steady light. The first Cape Lookout light was lit in 1812, and today’s 163-foot, diamond-painted tower went into operation in 1859. The black-and-white pattern was the inspiration for the name Diamond City, Shackleford Banks’s whaling community.


Barbara Garrity-Blake is a cultural anthropologist long interested in the 21 villages along the byway from the north end of Hatteras through the Down East region of Carteret County; she lives in Gloucester, N.C. Karen Willis Amspacher, director of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island, is descended from Shackleford Banks fishermen and boatbuilders and lives in Marshallberg, N.C.

From Living at the Water’s Edge: A Heritage Guide to the Outer Banks Byway by Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher. Copyright © 2017 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher.

Elizondo Griest: All the Agents and Saints

Elizondo Griest: All the Agents and Saints

Today is the official publication date of All the Agents and Saints by Stephanie Elizondo Griest. As we wish a happy book birthday to Stephanie and All the Agents and Saints, we wanted to share the  coverage that she’s been getting to keep our readers in the loop!

Texas Monthly put All the Agents and Saints on its July reading list, and Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club selected it for their 2017 Summer Reading List. The Texas Observer calls it “an extraordinary book” and “a model for how a curious person, any person who is sufficiently interested, can begin to navigate the boundaries that compartmentalize our country, and ourselves, toward wholeness.” Read an excerpt on Aster(ix), and listen to Stephanie’s interview on KKUP “Out of Our Minds” radio show with Rachelle Escamilla. Other highlights include reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews (also included on 10 Buzzworthy Books from Memoirists & Essayists by Kirkus)and ALA Booklist. 

Stephanie had a really special reading at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., this past Sunday and will be doing more events throughout the summer and into fall. We’ll keep spreading the word here and on Twitter, but for the full events schedule, check out our website page.

Continue Reading Elizondo Griest: All the Agents and Saints

Free Book Friday! Lessons from the Sand by Charles & Orrin Pilkey

Pilkey: Lessons from the SandIt’s Free Book Friday!! Enter to win a copy of Lessons from the Sand by Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey via Goodreads. Each easy-to-follow activity is presented in full color with dozens of whimsical and informational illustrations that will engage and guide readers through the experiments. Great for taking along on your next beach vacation! The giveaway ends on Friday, July 15, so get your entry in now!

Goodreads Book GiveawayLessons from the Sand by Orrin H. PilkeyLessons from the Sand by Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey

Giveaway ends July 15, 2017. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Continue Reading Free Book Friday! Lessons from the Sand by Charles & Orrin Pilkey

Recipe: Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Happy National Fried Chicken Day!! To honor this day, we look no further than Cynthia Graubart’s Chicken. She includes 7 (!!!) fried chicken recipes, so you’re bound to find one that you love. Try this fun recipe for Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Sandwiches, and get to celebratin’!

If you want more recipes like this, look no further than Cynthia’s addition to the Savor the South® collection. The Washington Post calls Chicken “a tidy roundup done in good taste.” We couldn’t agree more!

Graubart: Chicken

Cynthia Graubart is coauthor, with Nathalie Dupree, of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, which won a James Beard Book Award for American Cooking. Among Graubart’s other books is Slow Cooking for Two.  Follow Cynthia on Twitter @CynthiaGraubart. For a bonus recipe, try Summer Anytime Bourbon Peach Chicken Thighs.

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Keep an eye out this fall for a new Savor the South® cookbook!

Continue Reading Recipe: Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken Sandwiches

David Blevins on tour with North Carolina’s Barrier Islands

Heading to the North Carolina beach next week? David Blevins will be there too with North Carolina’s Barrier Islands: Wonders of Sand, Sea, and Sky!

Stop by for an inspiring presentation on David’s writing journey and how he captures the wonder of the islands. You’ll learn more about nature photography from an award-winning photographer and will be in awe of the shots he took. (Look for my favorite—sea turtles on the beach in moonlight!) David gives jargon-free context to each photograph, explaining what is being photographed and why, as well as chapter introductions providing scientific and historical context to the barrier islands. If you love the North Carolina coast, you’ll love this book.

Anyone who attends a book event gets a free poster, too! Looking forward to seeing you there!

David Blevins tour dates

Island Bookstore – Corolla: Tuesday, July 11 at 11 AM

Island Bookstore – Duck: Wednesday, July 12 at 1 PM

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum – Hatteras: Thursday, July 13 at 1 PM

Downtown Books – Manteo: Friday, July 14 at 3 PMContinue Reading David Blevins on tour with North Carolina’s Barrier Islands

Battle of Gettysburg Field Guide

The Battle of Gettysburg ended on this day, July 3, in 1863, marking the end of three intense and devastating days of battle. Considered to be one of the most important battles during the Civil War, it was a turning point for the Union army and prompted President Lincoln to make his famous Gettysburg Address.

Reardon & Vossler: Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and PeopleGettysburg National Military Park is now a popular spot for visitors to learn more about the battle and to honor the legacy of those who fought. If you’re planning a trip this summer, check out their Living History Programs and Junior Ranger activities for kids. Another great resource is A Field Guide to Gettysburg, Second Edition. Put this on the top of your must-bring list!

This second, updated edition of the acclaimed A Field Guide to Gettysburg will lead visitors to every important site across the battlefield and also give them ways to envision the action and empathize with the soldiers involved and the local people into whose lives and lands the battle intruded. Ideal for carrying on trips through the park as well as for the armchair historian, this book includes comprehensive maps and deft descriptions of the action that situate visitors in time and place. Crisp narratives introduce key figures and events, and eye-opening vignettes help readers more fully comprehend the import of what happened and why. A wide variety of contemporary and postwar source materials offer colorful stories and present interesting interpretations that have shaped—or reshaped—our understanding of Gettysburg today.Continue Reading Battle of Gettysburg Field Guide

Ira Dworkin: In the Name of Lumumba

Today is the 57th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s independence as a nation, first declared in a legendary speech by the first prime minister Patrice Lumumba on June 30, 1960. Guest blogger Ira Dworkin, author of Congo Love Song: African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State, speaks to the legacy of Patrice Lumumba, his brilliant speech, and the aftermath in both the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States. 


Dworkin: Congo Love SongAs the Democratic Republic of Congo marks the 57th anniversary of its independence, the country continues to suffer political violence as part of seemingly unending crisis. The current president Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his father Laurent Kabila in 2001, refused to relinquish power after the end of his elected term last year: “Democracy was assassinated here when Patrice Lumumba was assassinated. And who brought democracy back to this country? We are the ones who did that after pushing out the [Mobutu] dictatorship in 1997.” Kabila’s proprietary claim to the mantle of the country’s first prime minister essentially erases the work of the country’s vibrant opposition. He can make this claim because it is impossible to overstate the significance of the assassination or the length of colonialism’s complicated shadow. That shadow is not confined to the Congo. As the United States faces its own crisis of transparent and representative governance, Lumumba’s vision and the contributions of those who labor in his name continue to animate what Robin Kelley terms “black radical imagination.”

June 30, 1960, was the occasion for Lumumba’s brilliant independence day speech, delivered in Kinshasa to the face of Belgian King Baudouin, insisting that neither the terrors of the colonial regime nor the heroic struggles of the Congolese people be ignored for the sake of diplomatic niceties. Malcolm X would later cite the speech at the June 28, 1964, founding rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity: “he told the king of Belgium, ‘Man, you may let us free, you may have given us our independence, but we can never forget these scars.’” In the United States, the history of Lumumba is remembered by the many who carry not only his vision of liberation but also his name. Three days after that same OAAU rally, Malcolm and Betty Shabazz named their newborn daughter Gamilah Lumumba Shabazz in honor of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and in memory of Lumumba, “the greatest black man who ever walked the African continent.”

Continue Reading Ira Dworkin: In the Name of Lumumba

AAUP 2017 Annual Meeting Recap

Several UNC Press members recently attended the Association of American University Presses 2017 Annual Meeting, held in Austin, TX. With more than 650 publishing professionals in attendance, the meeting connected and encouraged collaboration among university and scholarly presses. Renowned journalist Dan Rather opened the conference, speaking on the importance of university presses in the current media environment. Our own Michael Donatelli received the 2017 AAUP Constituency Award for his continued contribution to the greater university press community. We’ve collected a few UNC Press members’ reflections to recap the meeting. For more insights, take a look at the hashtag #AAUP17 on Twitter or visit the AAUP 2017 home page. 


John Sherer, Spangler Family Director: “For the third time in ten years, a UNC Press employee has won the AAUP Constituency Award (our sales director, Michael Donatelli). This prize honors an individual at a member press who has demonstrated leadership and service to the university press community. To me, this unprecedented run of winners is a reflection of UNC’s perceived excellence in the university press world. All of the members of the UNC Press community should feel deep pride about this accomplishment.”Continue Reading AAUP 2017 Annual Meeting Recap

Lindsey A. Freeman: The Uncanny Bohemia in Black Mountain

cover art for the bohemian south by binghamToday we welcome a guest post from Lindsey A. Freeman, co-editor of  The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk. In today’s post, Freeman gives us a unique look into the bohemian culture within the south. Interested in learning more? Listen to Lindsey and co-editor Shawn Chandler Bingham talk about tracking southern subcultures on WUNC’s “The State of Things.”


In the fall of 2015, Chelsea Ragan and Adam Void, two artists living in Black Mountain, North Carolina, invited a slew of artists, creative folks, and teachers to get together in order to begin laying the foundations for a new school. They met by Lake Eden, the site of the legendary Black Mountain College (BMC). The new experimental learning community organized by Ragan and Void was initially called Black Mountain School, an intentional echo of BMC. In the summer of 2016, Black Mountain School attracted around 200 artists, designers, and teachers to participate in communal experimental learning on a beautiful expanse of land in Western North Carolina.

The original BMC began in 1933 with the controversial scholar John A. Rice at the helm. Rice and his colleagues wanted to create a new kind of environment for learning based on the educational principles of John Dewey. They believed that the study and creation of art was intrinsic to any liberal arts education. Continue Reading Lindsey A. Freeman: The Uncanny Bohemia in Black Mountain

UNC Press Summer Reading List

Summer Reading ListHappy Summer! In honor of the summer solstice, we’re posting our suggestions for your summer reading list. If you’re planning a fun tropical vacation or just heading to your neighborhood pool, UNC Press has your perfect summer read. Pick up a fun guidebook or new biography, and don’t forget about our 40% sale!

Pilkey: Lessons from the Sand: Family-Friendly Science Activities You Can Do on a Carolina BeachLessons from the Sand: Family-Friendly Science Activities You Can Do on a Carolina Beach

A trip to the Carolina coast wouldn’t be complete without Lessons from the Sand. This easy-to-follow activity guide is presented in full color with dozens of whimsical and informational illustrations that will engage and guide kids and parents. It even includes rainy day projects!

 Elizondo Griest: All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. BorderlandsAll the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands

This is literary journalism in the form of sublime writing. You’ll get lost in Stephanie’s words as she shares her experiences and the stories of those living on the northern and southern borders of the U.S.

Rogoff: Gertrude Weil: Jewish Progressive in the New South Gertrude Weil: Jewish Progressive in the New South

The biography of a remarkable woman who fought for the progressive issues of the day. You’ll recognize figures such as Carrie Chapman Catt, national leader of the woman’s suffragist movement; Frank Graham, university president and U. S. Senator; and even Eleanor Roosevelt. My favorite part of the story? Eighty-year-old Gertrude desegregating a local swimming pool by diving in headfirst.Continue Reading UNC Press Summer Reading List

Brian L. Tochterman: Birth of a Vigilante

cover photo for tochtermanToday we have another guest post by Brian L. Tochterman, author of The Dying City: Postwar New York and the Ideology of Fear. In this eye-opening cultural history, Brian Tochterman examines competing narratives that shaped post–World War II New York City, revealing how elite culture producers, planners and theorists, and elected officials drew on and perpetuated the fear of death to press for a new urban vision.


I’m not letting the killer go through the tedious process of law. – I, the Jury (1947)

This year marks the 70th birthday of Mike Hammer, the hypermasculine private investigator that sprung from the imagination of his creator Mickey Spillane onto the pages of pulp fiction after World War II. Mike Hammer was Spillane’s Ubermensch, a perfected representation of himself that seemed to fill a canker left by the writer’s involvement, or lack thereof, in the war effort. Spillane was a product of working-class Brooklyn and New Jersey, who entered the comic book industry in the late 1930s, fleshing out a prototype of his ideal protagonist in a strip called “Mike Danger.” When the war came, Spillane never made it further than the base camps of the American south. When he published I, the Jury in 1947, his alter-ego was a Pacific front hero returning home to New York City “anxious to get some of the rats that make up the section of humanity that prey on people.”

In his seminal ode to the work of Dashiell Hammett, “The Simple Art of Murder” (1944), Raymond Chandler codified the pulp detective as a man “who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid . . . a man of honor . . . the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.” Continue Reading Brian L. Tochterman: Birth of a Vigilante

The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Today, the UNC Press blog explains the origins of Juneteenth and the tradition of Emancipation Day celebrations throughout the United States with contributions from William A. Blair, author of Cities of the Dead and With Malice toward Some and editor of  Lincoln’s Proclamation


What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, given by President Abraham Lincoln, that declared freedom for all slaves in states still in rebellion. Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation following the Battle of Antietam on September 22, 1862, as a warning to the Confederacy, and the official order went into effect on January 1, 1863.

Why June 19?

There are several dates that could celebrate the Emancipation, such as January 1 or September 22 or even February 1 (National Freedom Day,) but Juneteenth has become the most popular. June 19, 1865, commemorates the day when slaves in the Galveston, Texas, area heard a proclamation of freedom read by Union General Granger.

When did other regions celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation?

Celebrations often occurred around when black people in a particular region won their liberation. These were often tied either to the appearance of the Union army or the defeat of the Confederate military. For example, Richmond residents marked April 3 when Lee’s army fled the capital, while others preferred April 9, when that army surrendered at Appomattox. Beginning with the issuing of the proclamation in 1863, African Americans in the Union-occupied Sea Islands near South Carolina and Georgia gathered in ceremonial events to mark what they hoped was the destruction of slavery. Continue Reading The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Bridgette A. Lacy: Father’s Day Memories

We welcome a blog post in honor of Father’s Day by Bridgette Lacy, author of Sunday Dinner: a SAVOR THE SOUTH® cookbook. Bridgette shares the memories of her grandfather in the kitchen and the importance of gathering together. Want to start Sunday dinner traditions of your own? Read Bridgette’s blog post on how to get started.

From Bridgette and the folks at UNC Press: Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. 


Father’s Day Memories

James R Moore Jr My maternal grandfather’s love often came in packages. He would send a box of thick-sliced fatback bacon to my Howard University dormitory, sweet potatoes delivered by cousin Gwen, or a large brown bag filled with ham sandwiches for the train ride from Lynchburg, V.A., back home to Washington, D.C.

James Russell Moore Jr., who I affectionately called Papa, loved feeding his grandchildren. I was his oldest. As a child, I was a skinny girl and a finicky eater. But anything my Papa made, I was at least willing to try. That meant potato salad, which had too many complex flavors for my adolescent taste. But I couldn’t refuse a spoonful or two of one of my family’s favorite side dishes.

As we approach Father’s Day, I am transported to his backyard garden. My memory takes me to the two apple trees whose branches once met in the sky, forming an endless bridge of hope for me. The goldfish pond glistened with bright orange swimmers. The smoke house, the dog house, and the rabbit cages all snug with their appropriate inhabitants.

Some of my favorite moments with my Papa were made in that sacred space where vegetables, fruits, and flowers grew. He would often give me a cigar to keep the flies away as we picked string beans off the vine for dinner.

Sunday dinner is the gravitational pull that brings family and friends together. It’s a reassurance that the people you love are there for you.
Gardening and cooking were acts of love for him. His lessons continued in the kitchen as I watched him meticulously prepare coconut pies and his Nilla Wafer Brown Pound Cake on Saturday afternoons for Sunday dinner. There was an air of excitement in the kitchen as Papa flipped the heavy Bundt pan over onto a plate. He would remove the pan to reveal the Nilla Wafer Brown coloring of the cake. That was how he measured the cake’s perfection.

In my grandparent’s home, Sunday dinner was a big meal always served in the dining room with the good China. There was always plenty of fried chicken, potato salad, yeast rolls, and greens. There was always room for extended family members, a visiting aunt, nearby cousins, or a single uncle in need of a home-cooked meal.

Sunday Dinner cover imageSunday dinner was the place where you learned your family’s history. You heard stories of romance, challenges and triumphs. It was a time for storytelling. Problems disappeared during those cherished hours.

Continue Reading Bridgette A. Lacy: Father’s Day Memories

Interview: Sandra Gutierrez on The New Southern-Latino Table

Author Sandra Gutierrez talks with publicity director Gina Mahalek about her award-winning book, The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. Sandra was recently selected as the grand prize winner of MFK Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing by Les Dames d’Escoffier International. (Kudos, Sandra!) The New Southern-Latino Table is also part of an exhibit currently on display at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, and Sandra will be speaking at the museum in D.C. on Saturday, June 17, at 2 p.m.Sandra A. Gutierezz

Gina Mahalek: How do you define the Southern-Latino culinary movement?

Sandra Gutierrez: I define it as the melding of the foodways and flavors of the Southern U.S. with those of Latin America as a whole. Recent years have seen a huge influx of Latinos from all different socio-economic and culinary backgrounds into the South. Many of us are second- and third-generation Latinos who are proud of our heritage and of the food of our ancestors (as were previous waves of immigrants). We have brought along our ingredients and culinary traditions and have fallen in love with those of the South. This is not a movement that has occurred in a controlled manner; rather, it is happening naturally and by chance. Southerners and Latinos share similar culinary histories, ingredients, and cooking techniques, but we interpret them in very different ways. I find it exciting that, having found themselves in the same territory, these culinary traditions are correlating and intermingling. I call this the New Southern-Latino movement. This is a movement in which chiles rellenos are stuffed with pimiento cheese, and corn ice cream is topped with hot praline sauce.

GM: What are some of the similarities between the cuisines of the American South and those of Latin America?

SG: There are many similarities in the way both cuisines were shaped, which in my opinion gives this movement a great starting point. Both have been influenced by people of three ethnicities: indigenous (Native Americans in the South; Aztecs, Mayans, Incas and others in Latin America), African, and European. Both cuisines have many ingredients in common, among them: corn, tomatoes, squash, pork, and beans, to name a few. Also, both share similar cooking techniques such as braising, frying, and barbecuing. Of course, we interpret food in very different ways. However, I chose to build a cuisine based upon our similarities, with flavors that both southerners and Latinos can relate to, in hope of bringing people together at the table.

Sandra Gutierrez: The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South GM: In your book, you mention that the use of the word “Latino” has little meaning within Latin America. Could you talk a little bit about this from a culinary perspective?Continue Reading Interview: Sandra Gutierrez on The New Southern-Latino Table