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:

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During the four decades since Francis Simkins's death in the 1960s, the writing of southern history has undergone immense changes. Gender theory and a greater focus on minorities have blossomed in the late twentieth century as the most important approaches to the study of this region. Compared to these perspectives, Simkins's writing seems dated and even naïve. In fact, though, his work provided inspiration and insight for modern scholars, who built upon many of Simkins's historical ideas outlined in his work. Simkins was a pioneer in the field of southern history. His writing often focused on minorities, blacks during Reconstruction, and women who lived during the Civil War era. He belonged to a small group of liberal thinkers in the early twentieth century who promoted the interests of blacks through recognition of their humanity and an illumination of the abuses they suffered in a racial system designed specifically to subjugate them. Simkins deserves to be ranked high among scholars of his generation. The reactionary stance he adopted in the last two decades of his life dims, but does not eclipse, his earlier contributions to these fields.

Keywords: Francis Butler Simkins; southern historians; southern history; minorities; blacks

Chapter.  3141 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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