October 5, 2020
The Southern Historical Association awarded the C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize to Justin Mark Randolph, author of “Civil Rights Arrested: Black Freedom Movements and Mass Incarceration in Rural Mississippi, 1938 to 1980,” written at Yale University (2019) under the direction of Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore and Beverly Gage. In making their decision the committee notes that “Justin Randolph combines agriculture, civil rights, and law enforcement to disclose the political uses of region in northeastern Mississippi as a national story. With remarkable research he eloquently delineates the maintenance of white supremacy through means that ranged from imprisonment to cattle auctions, with a clear focus on the police state. By linking the numerous methods of white oppression with how rural people experienced the freedom struggle, Randolph’s study will change the way historians interpret the 1930s through the 1970s.”
Established in 2000, the Woodward Award is given annually to recognize the best dissertation in Southern history defended in the previous calendar year.The prize consists of a $3,000 stipend provided by the Woodward Fund, a generous bequest left to the SHA by C. Vann Woodward.