The University of Alabama Press is pleased to announce B. J. Hollars as the recipient of the 2017 Anne B. & James B. McMillan Prize in Southern History for his recently published book The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders.
The UAP Faculty Editorial Board has awarded the Anne B. & James B. McMillan Prize annually since 1995 to the manuscript chosen as the Most Deserving in Alabama or Southern History or Culture. The McMillan prize was established to honor James B. McMillan, founding director of the University of Alabama Press, former chairman of the university’s English department, and a renowned dialectologist. It has recognized books on such diverse topics as Southern Baptists, civil rights, religion, Alabama politics, southern missionaries, and southeastern archaeology.
McMillan Prize committee member Lesley Gordon praised the work, calling it an “immensely moving and memorable book.” Gordon went on to say, “The Road South combines powerful oral history with the very personal journey that the author engages in as he meets and converses one-on-one with surviving Freedom Riders. We read not only stories of the past but also reflections on today, emphasizing the lasting legacy of the civil rights movement.”
The Road South offers an intimate look into the lives and legacies of the Freedom Riders. Hollars retraced the historic route and learned the stories of as many surviving riders as he could. Throughout the text these civil rights veterans’ poignant, personal stories offer timely insights into America’s racial past and hopeful future.
Weaving the past with the present, Hollars aims to demystify the legendary journey, while also confronting more modern concerns related to race in America. Part memoir and part research-based journalism, the book transcends the traditional textbook version of this historical journey to highlight the fascinating stories of the many riders—both black and white—who risked their lives to move the country forward.
B.J. Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is the author of several books including Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America; Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa; Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds; From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human, among others.
The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders is now available from The University of Alabama Press.
RECENT ANNE B. & JAMES B. MCMILLAN PRIZE WINNERS
2016 • Martin T. Oliff, Getting Out of the Mud: The Alabama Good Roads Movement and Highway Administration, 1898–1928
2015 • Edwin C. Bridges, Alabama: The Making of an American State
2014 • Christopher Lyle McIlwain Sr., Civil War Alabama
2013 • Susan M. Abram, Forging a Cherokee-American Alliance in the Creek War: From Creation to Betrayal
2012 • Glenn Feldman, The Irony of the Solid South: Democrats, Republicans, and Race, 1865–1944
2011 • Andrew H. M. Stern, Southern Crucifix, Southern Cross: Catholic-Protestant Relations in the Old South