Challenging the Simkins Orthodoxy

James S. Humphreys

in Francis Butler Simkins

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032658
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039411 | DOI:
Challenging the Simkins Orthodoxy

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When Francis Simkins returned to Farmville in the late summer of 1951 he returned to a small town beginning to feel the first rumblings of a revolution that would irrevocably alter not only the tiny Virginia village, but also the entire South. That revolution was the civil rights movement. As the agitation for minority rights erupted in Farmville and other southern towns, a more subtle revolution was also occurring in the writing of southern history. In the 1950s, many commonly held notions related to the South came under assault from scholars seeking new answers to the old questions regarding race relations. The revolutions in civil rights and southern historiography posed a challenge to many of Simkins's cherished ideas, and ultimately they undermined his work.

Keywords: Francis Butler Simkins; southern historians; Farmville; minority rights; civil rights; race relations; southern historiography

Chapter.  7594 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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