Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Troy University
Website URL
Race, race relations, Jim Crow, US South, southern history, African American history, miscegenation, interracial marriage, racial identity, racial definitions, law, legal history, community, lynching, racial violence, Civil Rights Movement, school integration, Reconstruction, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi
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Personal Info

About Me

I’m a historian of American race relations in the 19th-20th century at Troy University in Alabama.  I received my PhD from the University of Georgia in 2014, and my first book, Regulating Race:  Miscegenation and Mixed Race in Laws and Communities of the Jim Crow South, is currently under review.

My work examines the contrast between legal bans against interracial relationships in the Deep South during Jim Crow, and the ways in which communities dealt with these relationships and the families they created.  I argue that communities defined race differently than the law, and that because of these different markers and concerns, along with community ties, they frequently tolerated interracial relationships for years. My research shows that neighbors or family members generally only initiated miscegenation prosecution for personal gain unrelated to racial ideology.  This weaponization of Jim Crow laws for personal reasons, rather than racial outrage, demonstrates the fictions and complexity of beliefs and actions regarding segregation and racial oppression.

In addition to interracial relationships and racial identity, I also study racial violence and lynching, using these trends to help understand the development of the world today.  I have extensively taught, interviewed, and publicly spoken on the Civil Rights Movement, particularly leadership and the grassroots and student movement.  In future projects, I plan to examine school attendance and integration, as well as isolated, racially mixed communities, in order to further explore the process of creating and regulating race during Jim Crow and into the Civil Rights Movement.

Recent Publications


Regulating Race:  Miscegenation and Mixed Race in Laws and Communities of the Jim Crow South, under review

Review of Debbie Z. Harwell, Wednesdays in Mississippi:  Proper Ladies Working for Radical Change, Freedom Summer 1964Journal of Southern History, November 2015

Recent and Major Presentations:

“An Education on Race:  School Attendance Trials and Defining Race in Jim Crow Alabama.” Alabama Historical Association Annual Meeting, Montgomery, AL, April 2016

“Crossing Jim Crow:  Legal Proscription versus Community Toleration of Interracial Relationships in the Jim Crow South.”  European Association for American Studies Conference, The Hague, Netherlands, April 2014

“Regulating Race:  Interracial Relationships, Community, and Law in the Jim Crow South.”  Organization of American Historians Conference, Washington DC, April 2010

Media Coverage
My work and teaching has been featured on Troy Public Radio (NPR affiliate), WFSA Montgomery, WAFF Huntsville, WTVY Dothan, Troy Today blog, the Tropolitan, and Trojan Vision.
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
5, 7, 8
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, Gender, Human Rights, Law, Local & Regional, Race