Atlanta and Georgia have been in the news a lot this election cycle, but the dynamics that have brought us to this moment are a long time coming. Whether you are new to Atlanta or an old school ATLien, this list is designed to help you make sense of our current political moment through the lens of mainstream and grassroots political, cultural, and social histories (and even a few novels!).
"Offers a much needed discussion of racial politics in the premier New South city. Readers will discover that courageous struggles for justice, as much as compromise, have marked the so-called Atlanta-style since Reconstruction."--W. Scott Poole, College of Charleston
Suburban sprawl transformed the political culture of the American South as much as the civil rights movement did during the second half of the twentieth century.
The forgotten story of how southern white supremacy and resistance to desegregation helped give birth to the modern conservative movement
For more than a century, the city of Atlanta has been associated with black achievement in education, business, politics, media, and music, earning it the nickname the black Mecca.
Former CNN commentator Frederick Allen presents a behind-the-scenes look at the men who transformed Atlanta from a sleepy Southern backwater to an international powerhouse--and how they did it. Personal papers, private correspondence, and Allen's own intimate knowledge of the major players combine to produce a riveting chronicle.
The Southern Strategy was but one in a series of decisions the GOP made not just on race, but on feminism and religion as well, in what Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields call the "Long Southern Strategy."
As featured in the documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy
PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award Finalist, Longlisted for the National Book Award
Best Books of the Year--Washington Post, Boston Globe, NPR, Bustle, NYPL
Was the Confederacy doomed from the start in its struggle against the superior might of the Union? Did its forces fight heroically against all odds for the cause of states' rights? In reality, these suggestions are an elaborate and intentional effort on the part of Southerners to rationalize the secession and the war itself.
This history of the idea of "neighborhood" in a major American city examines the transition of Atlanta, Georgia, from a place little concerned with residential segregation, tasteful surroundings, and property control to one marked by extreme concentrations of poverty and racial and class exclusion.
The lasting effects of slavery on contemporary political attitudes in the American South
From the author of the Oprah's Book Club Selection An American Marriage, here is a beautifully evocative novel that proves why Tayari Jones is "one of the most important voices of her generation" (Essence).
At its height the Creek Nation comprised a collection of multiethnic towns and villages with a domain stretching across large parts of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. By the 1830s, however, the Creeks had lost almost all this territory through treaties and by the unchecked intrusion of white settlers who illegally expropriated Native soil.
In this Bancroft Prize-winning history of the Civil Rights movement in Atlanta from the end of World War II to 1980, Tomiko Brown-Nagin shows that long before black power emerged and gave black dissent from the mainstream civil rights agenda a name, African Americans in Atlanta questioned the meaning of equality and the steps necessary to obtain a share of the American dream.
From the end of Georgia's white primary in 1946 to the present, Atlanta has been a community of growing black electoral strength and stable white economic power. Yet the ballot box and investment money never became opposing weapons in a battle for domination. Instead, Atlanta experienced the emergence and evolution of a biracial coalition.
One of America's most important writers takes on the arrest of Wayne Bertram Williams for the murder of twenty-eight black children in Atlanta to offer this searing indictment of the nation's racial stagnation.
In the age of decentralization, instant communications, and the subordination of locality to the demands of a globalizing market, contemporary cities have taken on place-less or a-geographic characters. They have become phantasmagorical landscapes. Atlanta, argues Charles Rutheiser, is in many ways paradigmatic of this generic urbanism.
This sweeping history of the civil rights movement in the South's largest state tells of many Georgias. On one extreme is Atlanta, a metropolitan center of relative black prosperity and training ground of many movement leaders. On another is Albany. A city deep in the "black belt" of the plantation South, it is the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s greatest civil rights setback.
Most Americans hold basic misconceptions about the Confederacy, the Civil War, and the actions of subsequent neo-Confederates. For example, two thirds of Americans--including most history teachers--think the Confederate States seceded for "states' rights." This error persists because most have never read the key documents about the Confederacy.
Southern Association for Women Historians Julia Cherry Spruill Prize Even without the right to vote, members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy proved to have enormous social and political influence throughout the South--all in the name of preserving Confederate culture.
This richly illustrated collection of essays, reissued in paperback with a new foreword by Karen L. Cox, examines Confederate memorials from Monument Avenue to Stone Mountain and explores how each monument, with its associated public rituals, testifies to the romanticized narrative of the American Civil War known as the Lost Cause.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History
A bold and searing investigation into the role of white women in the American slave economy
“Compelling.”—Renee Graham, Boston Globe
“Stunning.”—Rebecca Onion, Slate
“Makes a vital contri
National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2016
A Chicago Review of Books Best Nonfiction Book of 2016
By the 1920s, the sectional reconciliation that had seemed achievable after Reconstruction was foundering, and the South was increasingly perceived and portrayed as impoverished, uneducated, and backward.
"A gripping and troubling account of the origins of our turbulent times.” —Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States
The provocative and authoritative history of the origins of Christian America in the New Deal era
We're often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the belief that America is fundamentally and formally Christian originated in the 1930s.
* Winner of the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award
* National Book Award Finalist
* Time magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of the Year
* New York Times Notable Book
* Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017
“A page turner…We have long needed a fair-minded overview of this vitally important religious sensibility, and FitzG
America has become a nation of suburbs. Confronting the popular image of suburbia as simply a refuge for affluent whites, The New Suburban History rejects the stereotypes of a conformist and conflict-free suburbia. The seemingly calm streets of suburbia were, in fact, battlegrounds over race, class, and politics.
Atlanta is often cited as a prime example of a progressive New South metropolis in which blacks and whites have forged "a city too busy to hate." But Ronald Bayor argues that the city continues to bear the indelible mark of racial bias.
Charles Reagan Wilson documents that for over half a century there existed not one, but two civil religions in the United States, the second not dedicated to honoring the American nation. Extensively researched in primary sources, Baptized in Blood is a significant and well-written study of the South’s civil religion, one of two public faiths in America.
- 2020 ECPA Top Shelf Book Cover Award
- 2019 American Society of Missiology Book Award -- Excellence in Missiology
★ Publishers Weekly starred review
New York Times Bestseller • Notable Book of the Year • Editors' Choice Selection
One of Bill Gates’ “Amazing Books” of the Year
One of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Best Books of the Year
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction
An NPR Best Book of the Year
Winner of the Hillman Prize for Nonfiction
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • One of the most acclaimed books of our time, this modern classic “has set a new standard for reporting on poverty” (Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times Book Review).
This suspenseful novel portrays a community--and a family--under siege, during the shocking string of murders of black children in Atlanta in the early 1980s.
In this inspiring memoir—that Jane Fonda raves “will make you braver...want to live your life better and make a difference”—the award-winning playwright and bestselling author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day reminisces on the art of juggling marriage, motherhood, and politics while working to hone her craft as a writer.
Before she become one
**Winner, Phillip D. Reed Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment**
**A Planetizen Top Planning Book for 2017**
In the months leading up to the birth of her first child, Hannah Palmer discovers that all three of her childhood houses have been wiped out by the expansion of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
For a decade, Suburban Nation has given voice to a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and replace the last century's automobile-based settlement patterns with a return to more traditional planning.
What we can learn from Atlanta's struggle to reinvent itself in the 21st Century
During the hot summer of 1906, anger simmered in Atlanta, a city that outwardly savored its reputation as the Gate City of the New South, a place where the races lived peacefully, if apart, and everyone focused more on prosperity than prejudice.
Why do white supremacist politics in America remain so powerful? Elizabeth Gillespie McRae argues that the answer lies with white women.
Challenging U.S. Apartheid is an innovative, richly detailed history of Black struggles for human dignity, equality, and opportunity in Atlanta from the early 1960s through the end of the initial term of Maynard Jackson, the city's first Black mayor, in 1977. Winston A.
During the civil rights movement, epic battles for justice were fought in the streets, at lunch counters, and in the classrooms of the American South. Just as many battles were waged, however, in the hearts and minds of ordinary white southerners whose world became unrecognizable to them.
Making Whiteness is a profoundly important work that explains how and why whiteness came to be such a crucial, embattled--and distorting--component of twentieth-century American identity. In intricately textured detail and with passionately mastered analysis, Grace Elizabeth Hale shows how, when faced with the active citizenship of their ex-slaves after the Civil War, white south
Mark Newman draws on a vast range of archives and many interviews to uncover for the first time the complex response of African American and white Catholics across the South to desegregation.
One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives.
THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY OF THE VITAL ROLE
WOMEN -- BOTH BLACK AND WHITE -- PLAYED
IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
The relationship between undocumented immigrants and law enforcement officials continues to be a politically contentious topic in the United States.
The Latino population in the South has more than doubled over the past decade. The mass migration of Latin Americans to the U.S. South has led to profound changes in the social, economic, and cultural life of the region and inaugurated a new era in southern history. This multidisciplinary collection of essays, written by U.S.
Extending the understanding of race and ethnicity in the South beyond the prism of black-white relations, this interdisciplinary collection explores the growth, impact, and significance of rapidly growing Asian American populations in the American South.
2012 Honorable mention for the Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies
Arkansas, 1943. The Deep South during the heart of Jim Crow-era segregation. A Japanese-American person boards a bus, and immediately is faced with a dilemma. Not white. Not black. Where to sit?
This book has received the AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award 2013.
After Reconstruction, against considerable odds, African Americans in Atlanta went about such self-interested pursuits as finding work and housing. They also built community, says Allison Dorsey.
Undaunted by the Fight is a study of small but dedicated, group of Spelman College students and faculty who, between 1957 and 1967 risked their lives, compromised their grades, and jeopardized their careers to make Atlanta and the South a more just and open society.
The struggle for civil rights in America was fought at the lunch counter as well as in the streets. It ultimately found victory in the halls of government--but, as Richard Cortner reveals, only through a creative use of congressional power and critical judicial decisions.
Ralph McGill (1898-1969) was the editor in chief of the Atlanta Constitution during the turbulent years of the civil rights movement that followed Brown v. Board of Education, and he became an outspoken advocate for integration and racial tolerance in the South.
This first-hand account tells the story of turbulent civil rights era Atlanta through the eyes of a white upper-class woman who became an outspoken advocate for integration and racial equality.
As a privileged white woman who grew up in segregated Atlanta, Sara Mitchell Parsons was an unlikely candidate to become a civil rights agitator.
In 1906 Atlanta, after a summer of inflammatory headlines and accusations of black-on-white sexual assaults, armed white mobs attacked African Americans, resulting in at least twenty-five black fatalities. Atlanta's black residents fought back and repeatedly defended their neighborhoods from white raids.
Lockheed has been one of American's largest corporations and most important defense contractors from World War II to the present day (since 1995 as part of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company). During the postwar era, its executives enacted complicated business responses to black demands for equality.
In 1913, 13-year-old Mary Phagan was found brutally murdered in the basement of the Atlanta pencil factory where she worked. The factory manager, a college-educated Jew named Leo Frank, was arrested, tried, and convicted in a trial that seized national headlines. When the governor commuted his death sentence, Frank was kidnapped and lynched by a group of prominent local citizens.
Winner of the 2009 Lillian Smith Book Award
“THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN GIVE OUR CHILDREN IS AN EDUCATION.” —Mae Bertha Carter
In 1965, the Carters, an African American sharecropping family with thirteen children, took public officials at their word when they were offered “Freedom of Choice” to send their children to any school they wished, and so began their unforeseen struggle t
Expanding the social justice discourse surrounding reproductive rights to include issues of environmental justice, incarceration, poverty, disability, and more, this crucial anthology explores the practical applications for activist thought migrating from the community into the academy.
At 3:37 in the morning of Sunday, October 12, 1958, a bundle of dynamite blew out the side wall of the Temple, Atlanta's oldest and richest synagogue. The devastation to the building was vast-but even greater were the changes those 50 sticks of dynamite made to Atlanta, the South, and ultimately, all of the United States (Detroit Free Press).
A scathing and original look at the racist origins of psychiatry, through the story of the largest mental institution in the world
Today, 90 percent of psychiatric beds are located in jails and prisons across the United States, institutions that confine disproportionate numbers of African Americans.
The Highs and Lows of Little Five Points documents the transformations of Atlanta's first Neighborhood Commercial District.
"A fascinating tale of two cities told through the rise of two of Atlanta's most illustrious political families...highly significant in what it reveals about ambition, hard work, success, and race relations."David Levering Lewis.
Since the late 1990s, Atlanta has become a dominant center of hip-hophome to mega-selling artists like OutKast, T-Pain, and T.I., and host to an electric mix of superstars, aspiring young rappers, and inspired fans. In Atlanta, photographer Michael Schmelling documents the artists, the fans, and the musical vitality of a city that is always redefining hip-hop.
More than seventy-five years after its publication, Gone with the Wind remains thoroughly embedded in American culture. Margaret Mitchell’s novel and the film produced by David O.
This vibrant book pulses with the beats of a new American South, probing the ways music, literature, and film have remixed southern identities for a post-civil rights generation. For scholar and critic Regina N.
On Thanksgiving night, 1915, a small band of hooded men gathered atop Stone Mountain, an imposing granite butte just outside Atlanta.
An insider’s account of the infamous Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal that scapegoated black employees for problems rooted in the education reform movement.
Food is at the heart of Atlanta, and here discover iconic dishes, notorious restaurants, and the rich culinary history of this Southern city.
Atlanta's cuisine has always been an integral part of its identity. From its Native American.
In 1919 the NAACP organized a voting bloc powerful enough to compel the city of Atlanta to budget $1.5 million for the construction of schools for black students. This victory would have been remarkable in any era, but in the context of the Jim Crow South it was revolutionary.