James J. Kilpatrick

Salesman for Segregation

By William P. Hustwit

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 9 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4236-9
    Published: February 2018
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-0213-4
    Published: May 2013
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0214-1
    Published: May 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4047-9
    Published: May 2013

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James J. Kilpatrick was a nationally known television personality, journalist, and columnist whose conservative voice rang out loudly and widely through the twentieth century. As editor of the Richmond News Leader, writer for the National Review, debater in the "Point/Counterpoint" portion of CBS's 60 Minutes, and supporter of conservative political candidates like Barry Goldwater, Kilpatrick had many platforms for his race-based brand of southern conservatism. In James J. Kilpatrick: Salesman for Segregation, William P. Hustwit delivers a comprehensive study of Kilpatrick's importance to the civil rights era and explores how his protracted resistance to both desegregation and egalitarianism culminated in an enduring form of conservatism that revealed a nation's unease with racial change.

Relying on archival sources, including Kilpatrick's personal papers, Hustwit provides an invaluable look at what Gunnar Myrdal called the race problem in the "white mind" at the intersection of the postwar conservative and civil rights movements. Growing out of a painful family history and strongly conservative political cultures, Kilpatrick's personal values and self-interested opportunism contributed to America's ongoing struggles with race and reform.

About the Author

William P. Hustwit is associate professor of history at Birmingham-Southern College.
For more information about William P. Hustwit, visit the Author Page.


"Traces the intellectual journey of James J. Kilpatrick from regional southern journalist to one of the most prominent conservative commentators of the latter half of the 20th century . . . . It represents an important aspect of the Civil Rights movement."--Publishers Weekly

"An engrossing new biography. . . . [Hustwit] has done a first-rate job of providing a much-needed biography of one of the South's most important journalists of the 20th century."--Raleigh News & Observer

“In this lively and well-researched study, William P. Hustwit places his subject, James J. Kilpatrick, in the vanguard of two movements: the effort to uphold segregation in the South and the rise of conservatism in America.”--American Historical Review

"Hustwit's study of Kilpatrick as a political and media figure deepens our understanding of the complex relationships connecting opposition to civil rights, media, modern conservatism, and the evolving rhetoric of white racial politics in the second half of the twentieth century."--Journal of Southern History

"Offers a new perspective on one of the South's leading segregationists."--Virginia Magazine

"Recommended. Specialized libraries, upper-division undergraduates and above."--Choice