Fragile Democracy: The Struggle Over Race and Voting Rights in NC

America is at war with itself over the right to vote, or, more precisely, over the question of who gets to exercise that right and under what circumstances. North Carolina is a battleground for this debate, and its history can help us understand why – a century and a half after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment – we remain a nation divided on the issue of free and fair elections.

Fragile Democracy tells the story of race and voting rights, from the end of the Civil War until the present day. It shows that struggles over the franchise have played out through cycles of emancipatory politics and conservative retrenchment. When race has been used as an instrument of exclusion from political life, the result has been a society in which vast numbers of Americans are denied the elements of meaningful freedom: a good job, a good education, good health, and a good home. This history points to the need for a bold new vision of what democracy looks like.

James L. Leloudis is a Professor of History, the Peter T. Grauer Associate Dean for Honors Carolina, and Director of the The James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence, College of Arts and Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Robert R. Korstad is Professor Emeritus of History and Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy of Duke University.

The moderator of the event is Deondra Rose, Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy. This event is sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI and cosponsored by Polis: Center for Politics at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy and the Hart Leadership Program.

You must register in advance here: and you will receive a confirmation email with a link and password to join.

Signed copies of the book are available from The Regulator Bookshop: Orders must be placed for curbside picked-up or delivery.

For more information, check out our website here: 

Event date: 
10/07/2020 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Event address: 
Fragile Democracy: The Struggle Over Race and Voting Rights in North Carolina Cover Image
ISBN: 9781469661391
Availability: available for order
Published: University of North Carolina Press - September 21st, 2020