Confronting Jim Crow

Race, Memory, and the University of Georgia in the Twentieth Century

By Robert Cohen

Confronting Jim Crow

364 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 24 halftones, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8140-5
    Published: August 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8139-9
    Published: August 2024

Paperback Available August 2024, but pre-order your copy today!

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Since the onset of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, America has grappled with its racial history, leading to the removal of statues and other markers commemorating pro-slavery sympathizers and segregationists from public spaces. Some of these white supremacist statues had stood on or near college and university campuses since the Jim Crow era, symbolizing the reluctance of American higher education to confront its racist past.

In Confronting Jim Crow, Robert Cohen explores the University of Georgia's long history of racism and the struggle to overcome it, shedding light on white Georgia's historical amnesia concerning the university's role in sustaining the Jim Crow system. By extending the historical analysis beyond the desegregation crisis of 1961, Cohen unveils UGA's deep-rooted anti-Black stance preceding formal desegregation efforts. Through the lens of Black and white student, faculty, and administration perspectives, this book exposes the enduring impact of Jim Crow and its lingering effects on campus integration.

About the Author

Robert Cohen is professor of history and social studies at New York University.
For more information about Robert Cohen, visit the Author Page.


"Robert Cohen's fascinating account of the riot that in 1961 sought to bar the first Black students from the University of Georgia reminds us that there is nothing new about current efforts to suppress the teaching of 'divisive' subjects and that such miseducation can breed ignorance, bigotry, and violence. Yet Cohen also invites us to admire the courage of these students, which stood in sharp contrast to the retrograde policies of Georgia's political and university leadership and to the behavior of so many white students. Essential reading for anyone interested in the contested future of American education."—Eric Foner, Columbia University

"Confronting Jim Crow is an astounding contemporary exploration into the continued struggle for freedom of thought in higher education. Through its expansion of the notion of activist, this book reminds us that though the liberal student activism at UGA was far more muted than that outside the South, it was still activism—and dangerous activism at that."—Joy Williamson-Lott, University of Washington

"This book is impeccable! Its contribution to the history of higher education will resonate with the public at a time when many southern colleges and universities are beginning to grapple with their troubled past of race and segregation."—Derrick P. Alridge, University of Virginia