Steve Suitts in conversation with Hank Klibanoff - A War of Sections

Steve Suitts in conversation with Hank Klibanoff - A War of Sections

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024 7:00 PM

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

In a sweeping reinterpretation of the history of disfranchisement, author and advocate Steve Suitts illuminates how a century of political conflicts in Alabama came to shape both some of America's best achievements in voting rights and its continuing struggles over voter suppression.

A Cappella Books welcomes the Suitts to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library to discuss his important new book, "A War of Sections: How Deep South Political Suppression Shaped Voting Rights in America." The author will appear in conversation with Hank Klibanoff, veteran journalist, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and host of the Peabody Award-winning podcast "Buried Truths."

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue.

About the Book

"A War of Sections" tells the unknown political history symbolized today by the annual pilgrimage of presidents and celebrities across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It is the story of how that crucial, tragic day in Selma in 1965 was only the flashpoint of a much longer history of failures and successes involving conflicts not only between blacks and whites in Alabama but between white political factions warring in the state over voting rights.

Suitts recasts the context and much of the content of disfranchisement in Alabama as an unremitting, decades-long sectional battle in white-only politics between the state's rural Black Belt and north Alabama counties. He uncovers important Black and white heroes and villains who collectively shaped the arc of voting rights in Alabama and, ultimately, across the nation. "A War of Sections" offers a new understanding of the political dynamics of resistance and change through which a southern state's long-standing democratic failures ironically provided motivation for and instruction to a reluctant nation regarding unmatched ways to advance universal voting. Along the way, the book introduces from this unheard past some prophetic voices that speak to the paramount issues of America's commitment to the universal right to vote—then and now.

About the Author

Steve Suitts is an adjunct at the Institute for Liberal Arts of Emory University and has been chief strategist for Better Schools Better Jobs, a Mississippi-based education advocacy project of the New Venture Fund. Suitts began his career as a staff member of the Selma Project. He was founding director of the Alabama Civil Liberties Union; the executive director of the Southern Regional Council; and program coordinator, vice president, and senior fellow of the Southern Education Foundation. He is the author of "Hugo Black of Alabama: How His Roots and Early Career Shaped the Great Champion of the Constitution" and "Overturning Brown: The Segregationist Legacy of the Modern School Choice Movement." He was the executive producer and one of the writers of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," a thirteen-hour public radio series that received a Peabody Award.

About the Conversation Partner

Hank Klibanoff, a veteran journalist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a Peabody Award-winning podcast host, is a Professor of Practice in Emory's Creative Writing Program. He co-authored "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation," which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for history. He was a reporter and editor for more than 35 years, held various reporting and editing positions in Mississippi, at The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and served as a managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He holds an undergraduate degree in English from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. His podcast, "Buried Truths," produced by WABE public radio station, won Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy awards in 2019.