Mixon, Gregory

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Mixon, Gregory

PERSONAL:

Education: University of Cincinnati, Ph.D., 1989.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, University of North Carolina—Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of North Carolina—Charlotte, assistant professor of history.

WRITINGS:

The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2005.

Contributor to books, including Black Resistance Movements in the United States and Africa, 1800-1993, edited by Felton Best, Edwin Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 1995. Contributor to professional journals, including Journal of Negro History, Georgia Historical Quarterly, and Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South.

SIDELIGHTS:

In The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City, University of North Carolina history professor Gregory Mixon writes about the ways in which race relations at the beginning of the twentieth century were revealed in the brutal violence that tore Atlanta, Georgia, apart in late September, 1906. "On the night of 22 September 1906, Atlanta, Georgia, jewel city of the ‘New South,’ exploded in an orgy of racial violence," explained Oscar R. Williams in the Journal of African American History. "Fueled by sensationalist newspaper stories of alleged assaults on white women by African American men, white rioters converged on downtown Atlanta and viciously attacked African Americans, initiating three days of intense, bitter rioting. The aftermath was at least twenty-five dead, hundreds injured, and thousands of dollars in property damage." "The riot represented the crystallization of decades of antiblack sentiments incited by the white commercial-civic elite-led campaign against black autonomy in pursuit of white dominance and supremacy since the end of federal Reconstruction in Georgia in 1872," wrote Linda Q. Wang in the International Social Science Review. "The wealth and resources that the white commercial-civic elite accumulated through the city's expansion and industrial development augmented their power and elevated them to the role of a quasi-government."

The Atlanta elite meant to accomplish this through a campaign that emphasized white supremacy through law and legitimized white anger against blacks who sought social equality. "Mixon," declared Alfred L. Brophy, writing for the Journal of Southern History, "sees the leaders of New South Atlanta as the ones who set the tone of racism—particularly through their disenfranchisement of African Americans—that enflamed passions and led to the riot. "Atlanta," Wang explained, "was to be a realization of their vision of the New South where roles of master and subordinate between blacks and whites would be reaffirmed." Blacks in Atlanta had a different agenda, and they believed they had the right, if not the power, to pursue it. "Members of Atlanta's black elite, which included Atlanta University professor W.E.B. DuBois and First Congregational Church pastor Henry Hugh Proctor," Ann W. Ellis Pullen wrote in the Historian, "were ‘willing to share responsibility with the white elite for supervising the working classes,’ but their agenda of racial uplift conflicted with the whites' goal of racial control."

Critics have celebrated Mixon's accomplishment in The Atlanta Riot, noting that it breaks new ground in understanding race relations and the importance of the business community in twentieth-century American history. "The author marvelously succeeds in developing overarching themes and challenging interpretations," declared Gilles Vandal in the Journal of Social History. "In the process, he succeeds in placing that tragic event in the larger context of American riots of the late nineteenth and early twenty centuries and relates it to the particular politics of the New South." "The author marvelously succeeds in developing overarching themes and challenging interpretations," Vandal explained. "His book offers a balanced analytical treatment as the author convincingly connects the emergence of the ideology of white supremacy with the politics of city-building," the Journal of Social History contributor continued. "He is particularly successful in his handling of the large-scale changes that were taking place at the time of the riot. Mixon's far-reaching conclusions on the unsettled state of race and class relations at the time of the riot are most challenging." "As the historiographical pendulum swings toward sympathetic portrayals of business," Brophy concluded, "Mixon's thesis will attract attention and encourage vigorous debate over business's role in racial progress."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February, 2006, Michael J. Pfeifer, review of The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City, p. 208.

Historian, winter, 2006, Ann W. Ellis Pullen, review of The Atlanta Riot.

International Review of Social History, August, 2007, review of The Atlanta Riot, p. 332.

International Social Science Review, March 22, 2006, Linda Q. Wang, review of The Atlanta Riot, p. 87.

Journal of African American History, fall, 2006, Oscar R. Williams, review of The Atlanta Riot.

Journal of American Ethnic History, fall, 2005, Sarah Judson, review of The Atlanta Riot.

Journal of American History, March, 2006, Stephen G.N. Tuck, review of The Atlanta Riot, p. 1455.

Journal of Social History, fall, 2006, Gilles Vandal, review of The Atlanta Riot.

Journal of Southern History, May, 2006, Alfred L. Brophy, review of The Atlanta Riot, p. 498.

ONLINE

History Department, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Web site,http://www.history.uncc.edu/ (May 1, 2008), author profile.