School of Arts and Letters

Congratulations to Professor Elizabeth Gritter on her recent book publication

River of Hope Book CoverCongratulations to Professor Elizabeth Gritter on the publication of her book River of Hope: Black Politics and the Memphis Freedom Movement, 1865-1954 (University Press of Kentucky, 2014).

In this groundbreaking book, Elizabeth Gritter examines how and why black Memphians mobilized politically from the end of the Civil War through the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954.  Compared to other cities in the South, Memphis had an unusually large number of African American voters. Black Memphians sought reform at the ballot box, formed clubs, ran for office, and engaged in voter registration and education activities.  River of Hope challenges persisting notions of a “Solid South” of white Democratic control by arguing that the small but significant number of black southerners who retained the right to vote had more influence than scholars have heretofore assumed. Gritter’s nuanced study also provides fresh insight into the efforts of the individuals who laid the foundation for civil rights victories in the 1950s and ’60s.  Visit the University of Kentucky Press for more information.



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