Blair LM Kelley Wins 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award

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Congratulations to Professor Blair LM Kelley (History, North Carolina) who has received the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians for her book, Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson.

Here is the publisher’s description of the book:

Through a reexamination of the earliest struggles against Jim Crow, Blair Kelley exposes the fullness of African American efforts to resist the passage of segregation laws dividing trains and streetcars by race in the early Jim Crow era. Right to Ride chronicles the litigation and local organizing against segregated rails that led to the Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896 and the streetcar boycott movement waged in twenty-five southern cities from 1900 to 1907. Kelley tells the stories of the brave but little-known men and women who faced down the violence of lynching and urban race riots to contest segregation.

Focusing on three key cities–New Orleans, Richmond, and Savannah–Kelley explores the community organizations that bound protestors together and the divisions of class, gender, and ambition that sometimes drove them apart. The book forces a reassessment of the timelines of the black freedom struggle, revealing that a period once dismissed as the age of accommodation should in fact be characterized as part of a history of protest and resistance.

UNC Press has a nice press release here.  Prior winners include Carole Boyce Davies (author, Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones); and Chana Kai Lee (author, For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer).

Professor Kelley also is active on Twitter (feed here), which is how I discovered her work.  She tweets about race, gender, culture, history, teaching — among other topics.  I suppose this is just one more example of how social media can enrich professional knowledge; I likely would not have stumbled across this book during the school year, but for web 2.0.

Congratulations, Professor Kelley!

-Bridget Crawford

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