New Project Aims to “Publish the Long Civil Rights Movement”

Cool activist-esque things to do through the years: early 1960s: register African American voters in the South; late 1960s: protest Vietnam War/attend large-scale concert in upstate New York; 1970s: burn bra while reading Erica Jong; 1990s: wear a red ribbon on an expensive tuxedo; 2008: get involved in the electoral process.

Considering the upcoming election season, significant change seems possible, but what are we voting for? Schools are integrated, the Iraq War is nothing like the Vietnam War, women are no longer discriminated against in the workplace, and only people in other countries have scary diseases. Right??

A project called “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” (LCRM) seeks to expose the ongoing nature of many of these pushed-aside, “past” struggles. With a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, UNC Press is collaborating with the UNC-Chapel Hill University Library, the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Civil Rights, and the Southern Oral History Program on a three-year project “to expand the understanding of the civil rights movement with a focus on broad chronological, demographic, geographic, and thematic conceptions.” Ultimately, the goal of this digital and print publishing venture is to provide interdisciplinary content about the civil rights movement in a variety of formats, most notably via a large digital database that will be the first of its kind in this field.

The LCRM project’s director is Sylvia K. Miller, who has more than twenty years’ experience in scholarly publishing — with Macmillan, Scribner, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, and Berg, mostly in the humanities and social sciences. Over the years she participated in or supervised the publication of several encyclopedias that won the Dartmouth Medal, reference publishing’s highest honor. Mark Simpson-Vos, LCRM editor, has been an acquiring editor for UNC Press for six years, working mainly with books in Native American Studies, environmental studies, and regional general-interest. Kenneth Reed, LCRM digital production specialist, will be working (mostly with XML) to develop workflows and practices for the creation and ingestion of content into the project’s publishing platform. LCRM project assistant Russ Damian has experience working with UNC Press as well as with a software developer.

The LCRM project hopes to “widen the window of civil rights scholarship to include contemporary issues such as school resegregation, environmental and economic justice, and related movements such as the women’s and gay rights movements.” UNC Press is excited to be part of this momentous project. Work began in January 2008 and will continue through December 2010. To learn more about Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement, visit the LCRM website.

-Rachel