Fairclough, Adam 1952-
FAIRCLOUGH, Adam 1952-
PERSONAL: Born November 14, 1952, in London, England; son of Alan (a journalist) and Marian (Skea, now Wills) Fairclough; married Patricia Benard (an artist), 1976 (marriage ended); married Mary Ellen Curtin (a historian); children: (first marriage) Jennifer Lee. Ethnicity: "English." Education: Balliol College, Oxford, B.A. (with first class honors), 1975; graduate study at University of Georgia, 1975-76; University of Keele, Ph.D., 1978; postdoctoral study at Institute of Education, London, 1982-83. Politics: Labour Party.
CAREER: New University of Ulster (now University of Ulster), Coleraine, Northern Ireland, member of history department, 1978-79; University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, member of modern history department, 1980-81; University of Wales, St. David's University College, Lampeter, member of history department, 1983-94; University of Leeds, Leeds, England, professor of modern American history, 1994-97; University of East Anglia, School of English and American Studies, Norwich, England, professor of American history, 1997—. Tulane University, visiting scholar, 1987; Carter C. Woodson Center, University of Virginia, fellow, 1990-91; National Humanities Center, fellow, 1994-95.
MEMBER: Association of University Teachers, British Association for American Studies, Southern Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, 1987; Lillian Smith Award, 1995, Louisiana Literary Award, 1996, and General L. Kemper Williams Prize, 1996, all for Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972.
Martin Luther King, Jr., University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1990.
Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1995.
Forty Acres and a Mule: Horace Mann Bond and the Lynching of Jerome Wilson, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1997.
Teaching Equality: Black Schools in the Age of Jim Crow, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 2001.
Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000, Viking (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor to history journals.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Constant Struggle: Blacks and Equality, 1895-1995.
SIDELIGHTS: Adam Fairclough, a historian and professor, has authored numerous articles and several books discussing the history of the South and American race relations. His writings include To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Lillian Smith award-winning Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, all titles influenced by the Civil Rights Movement and the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. Fairclough has also edited Horace Mann Bond's The Star Creek Papers: Washington Parish and the Lynching of Jerome Wilson, with the help of Bond's wife, Julia Bond. This book documents the early twentieth-century black family. Fairclough's most recent books are Teaching Equality: Black Schools in the Age of Jim Crow and Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000.
In The Star Creek Papers, Horace Mann Bond recorded his extensive research of the daily life of blacks in the South. Bond was curious to learn more about black ancestry and related history, and was interested in finding out why numerous local black farmers were land owners. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted, "If this collection is fragmentary, it once again proves Horace Bond, who died in 1972, was a shrewd observer of race relations and black family life."
Better Day Coming catalogues the historical events of the Civil Rights movement in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. Fairclough provides details about the characters, places, and events that were woven together to create the fabric of the Civil Rights movement and includes descriptions of relationships between key figures like Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Diane McWhorter of the New York Times wrote that the book "is a novelty, a single volume that succinctly encompasses the history of black emancipation from 1890 to the present . . . and is a smart, tidy survey of a lot of ground." McWhorter concluded by calling Better Day Coming "a fixture of the Civil Rights bibliography."
Better Day Coming describes the different groups, pivotal court cases, and historically significant events—such as the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56, the demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, the march from Selma to Montgomery for voting privileges in 1965, and the Los Angeles Watts Riots of 1966—that led to present day Civil Rights. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the work "will probably suit . . . the general reader . . . who may have little or no knowledge about the history of race relations since the American Civil War." New York Times critic McWhorter concluded, "Fairclough has produced a reliable map of a challenging field and a sobering measure of how few have been the better days and how long the years in between."
Fairclough once told CA: "My work is sustained by the creative tension between political engagement and the ideal of objectivity implicit in the historian's craft. I absorbed a concern for social justice and an interest in Labour politics from my father, chief leader-writer for the London Daily Mirror until his death in 1973. It took exposure to the poverty of Liverpool, however, to transmute vague sympathies into concrete political activity. Whether political commitment helps or hinders my work as a historian of the American Civil Rights movement is not for me to say; but it has, I believe, deepened my understanding of the mechanics of power and of the political wisdom of Martin Luther King's leadership.
"My work on the Civil Rights movement in Louisiana, and my current research into the history of black education, have taken me much more deeply into the complexities of the Civil Rights movement, compelling me to question many of the assumptions that characterize recent interpretations—including my own."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, February, 1997, Kenneth W. Goings, review of Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, p. 219.
American Studies, spring, 1997, Hugh Davis Graham, review of Race and Democracy, pp. 186-187.
Booklist, July, 2001, Vernon Ford, review of Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000, p. 1956.
Choice, July-August, 2001, J. Watras, review of Teaching Equality: Black Schools in the Age of Jim Crow, p. 2009.
Journal of American Studies, December, 1997, Mark Newman, review of Race and Democracy, p. 455.
Journal of Southern History, November, 1998, Pamela Tyler, review of Race and Democracy, pp. 788-790; August, 2002, Robert G. Sherer, review of Teaching Equality, p. 722.
Library Journal, August, 2001, A. O. Edmonds, review of Better Day Coming, p. 131.
Los Angeles Times, July 30, 1987.
New York Times Book Review, July 29, 2001, Diane McWhorter, "Overcoming Repeatedly," p. 15; July 21, 2002, Scott Veale, review of Better Day Coming, p. 20.
Publishers Weekly, June 2, 1997, review of The Star Creek Papers: Washington Parish and the Lynching of Jerome Wilson, p. 60; June 4, 2001, review of Better Day Coming, p. 68.
Times Literary Supplement, July 17, 1987.
Western Journal of Black Studies, Paul T. Miller, review of Better Day Coming, p. 123.
University of East Anglia Web site,http://www.uea.ac.uk/ (January 19, 2002).*