C. Vann Woodward, who died in 1999 at the age of 91, was America's mosteminent Southern historian, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Mary Chestnut'sCivil War and a Bancroft Prize for The Origins of the New South. Now, to honorhis long and truly distinguished career, Oxford is pleased to publish thisspecial commemorative edition of Woodward's most influential work, The StrangeCareer of Jim Crow.The Strange Career of Jim Crow is one of the great works of Southernhistory. Indeed, the book actually helped shape that history. Published in 1955,a year after the Supreme Court in Brown v Board of Education ordered schoolsdesegregated, Strange Career was cited so often to counter arguments forsegregation that Martin Luther King, Jr. called it "the historical Bible of thecivil rights movement." The book offers a clear and illuminating analysis of thehistory of Jim Crow laws, presenting evidence that segregation in the Southdated only to the 1890s. Woodward convincingly shows that, even under slavery,the two races had not been divided as they were under the Jim Crow laws of the1890s. In fact, during Reconstruction, there was considerable economic andpolitical mixing of the races. The segregating of the races was a relativenewcomer to the region.Hailed as one of the top 100 nonfiction works of the twentieth century, TheStrange Career of Jim Crow has sold almost a million copies and remains, in thewords of David Herbert Donald, "a landmark in the history of American racerelations."
C. Vann Woodward was the Sterling Professor of History at Yale until his death in 1999. Among his books are Mary Chestnut's Civil War, The Origins of the New South, Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel, and The Burden of Southern History. He was also General Editor of The Oxford History of the United States. William S. McFeely won the Lincoln Prize in 1992 for Frederick Douglass and the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for Grant: A Biography. He is Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities Emeritus at the University of Georgia and lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.