The Regulator welcomes William Sturkey, author Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White, for a reading and book signing. Sturkey will be joined in conversation with author and activist Timothy Tyson, as part of the Community & Scholars series co-sponsored by The Regulator and Duke's Forum for Publics and Scholars.
Sturkey’s Hattiesburg is rich, multigenerational saga of race and family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, that tells the story of how Jim Crow was built, how it changed, and how the most powerful social movement in American history came together to tear it down.
Sturkey reveals the stories behind those who struggled to uphold their southern “way of life” and those who fought to tear it down—from William Faulkner’s great-grandfather, a Confederate veteran who was the inspiration for the enigmatic character John Sartoris, to black leader Vernon Dahmer, whose killers were the first white men ever convicted of murdering a civil rights activist in Mississippi. Through it all, Hattiesburg traces the story of the Smith family across multiple generations, from Turner and Mamie Smith, who fled a life of sharecropping to find opportunity in town, to Hammond and Charles Smith, in whose family pharmacy Medgar Evers and his colleagues planned their strategy to give blacks the vote.
William Sturkey is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches courses on African American history and the history of the American South. His first book, To Write in the Light of Freedom, coedited with Jon Hale, brought together the newspapers, essays, and poems produced by young black students of the Freedom Schools during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964.
Timothy B. Tyson is Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School, and adjunct professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina. He is the author of The Blood of Emmett Till; Blood Done Sign My Name; and Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power. He serves on the executive board of the North Carolina NAACP and the UNC Center for Civil Rights.