What is your academic background and what is your current position in UCHI/at UConn/Your Home Institution?
I am a Professor of History, with concentration in the 20th century U.S., African American. My research spans radical social movements, popular music and urban history. I am a UCHI resident fellow.
What is the project you’re currently working on?
I am writing a book on the rise and expansion of black municipal participation and control in Atlanta, beginning from the late 1960s.
How did you arrive at this topic?
My undergraduate experience at Morehouse College in Atlanta sparked my initial interest in the city. Since my graduation in the early 1990s, the city has attracted more black migrants than any city in the country– by far. Widely perceived as the “Black Mecca,” only the metropolitan area of New York City has more black people than Atlanta metro. In most years, it is the first or second most visited destination for African American tourists It has the highest concentration of black millionaires, black-owned businesses and an over-representation of blacks in municipal and Fulton County government. I’ve been long fascinated how Atlanta, once the headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan, and deeply-entrenched white supremacist control, emerged as this model of black success.
What impact might your work have on a larger public understanding of your topic?
This book will be a useful source for scholars of urban history, African American history, and urban studies. It will make important interventions in both urban history and some facets of political science. There is a subfield of Africana studies, “Black Power Studies,” that will likely find this study an important addition. I hope (as perhaps many of us) that this will also serve as a possible general interest for people interest in the Capital of the South.