Joseph  Crespino-Atticus Finch: The Biography

Joseph Crespino

Bio

Joe Crespino is the Jimmy Carter Professor of History at Emory University. He is an expert in the political and cultural history of the twentieth century United States, and of the history of the American South since Reconstruction. His work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Academy of Education. In 2014, he served as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Tubingen, and he has been named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians. Crespino has published three books, has co-edited a collection of essays, and has written for academic journals as well as for popular forums such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, and the Wall Street Journal. His most recent book – Atticus Finch: The Biography – Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon – was published in 2018 by Basic Books. In a front-page review in the New York Times, Howell Raines, former executive editor of the Times and a native Alabaman, described Atticus Finch as a “crisp,” “illuminating” book that “opens a widow into ‘Mockingbird’s’ scrubbed-up Alabama of memory” and “the literary politics of the modern South.”





Sessions

Southern Conservatism and Its Impact on Today's Politics

In this reappraisal of racial politics in modern America, Kevin M. Kruse explains the causes and consequences of "white flight" in Atlanta and elsewhere. Seeking to understand segregationists on their own terms, White Flight moves past simple stereotypes to explore the meaning of white resistance. In the end, Kruse finds that segregationist resistance, which failed to stop the civil rights movement, nevertheless managed to preserve the world of segregation and even perfect it in subtler and stronger forms. In Atticus Finch, historian Joseph Crespino draws on exclusive sources to reveal how Harper Lee's father provided the central inspiration for each of her books. A lawyer and newspaperman, A. C. Lee was a principled opponent of mob rule, yet he was also a racial paternalist. When a militant segregationist movement arose that mocked his values, she revised the character in To Kill a Mockingbird to defend her father and to remind the South of its best traditions. Join these two historians as they discuss the south's history of segregation, southern conservatism, and the impact of each on today's politics.

Moderator: Hank Klibanoff

Hank Klibanoff is the creator and host of Buried Truths, a narrative history podcast produced by WABE (NPR). The podcast is drawn from the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project, which Klibanoff directs and teaches at Emory University. A native of Alabama, Klibanoff joined Emory at the close of a 36-year career in newspapers in Mississippi, at The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Klibanoff and his co-author, Gene Roberts, won the Pulitzer Prize in history for their book, The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of a Nation.

  • First Baptist Decatur Carreker Hall presented by Mailchimp
  • Sun 1:15-2:00p Carreker

Atticus Finch: The Biography

The publication of Go Set a Watchman in 2015 forever changed how we think about Atticus Finch. Once seen as a paragon of decency, he was reduced to a small-town racist. How are we to understand this transformation. In Atticus Finch, historian Joseph Crespino draws on exclusive sources to reveal how Harper Lee’s father provided the central inspiration for each of her books. A lawyer and newspaperman, A. C. Lee was a principled opponent of mob rule, yet he was also a racial paternalist. Harper Lee created the Atticus of Watchman out of the ambivalence she felt toward white southerners like him. But when a militant segregationist movement arose that mocked his values, she revised the character in To Kill a Mockingbird to defend her father and to remind the South of its best traditions. A story of family and literature amid the upheavals of the twentieth century, Atticus Finch is essential to understanding Harper Lee, her novels, and her times. BUY THIS BOOK!

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