Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2002

Lisa Sullivan 816-833-0425, ext. 234 or
Holly Milledge 816-268-8245
Harry S. Truman Library Institute


(Independence, Mo.) - The Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs has selected The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932-1968 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2001), authored by University of Alabama's Assistant Professor of History, Kari Frederickson, as its 2002 Harry S. Truman Book Award winner.

The Harry S. Truman Book Award of $1,000 recognizes the best book written within a two-year period that deals primarily and substantially with some aspect of the history of the United States between April 12, 1945 and January 20, 1953, or with the public career of Harry S. Truman. The award is given biennially in even-numbered years.

Dr. Frederickson's book was selected from a field of twenty-five submitted entries including Thomas Borstelmann's The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in The Global Arena, (Harvard University Press, 2001); Zachary Karabell's The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000); and David F. Rudgers's Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947, (University Press of Kansas, 2000).

"We were impressed with this book on many fronts," said Dr. Jeffrey Gall, chair of the Harry S. Truman Book Award subcommittee. "To begin with, Frederickson is an excellent writer who tells a compelling story. She begins her account in the 1930s and has a closing section that takes her conclusions into the late 1960s. The heart of her book focuses squarely on the Truman era and the pivotal attempt of the Dixiecrats to use a third party campaign to throw the 1948 election into the House of Representatives and thus get a president with whom they would be more satisfied. Frederickson gives considerable attention to Strom Thurmond, but also to other Dixiecrat leaders such as Fielding Wright, the governor of Mississippi and Thurmond's running mate. She presents a convincing case that the Dixiecrats were not just responding to civil rights pronouncements and actions by the national Democratic Party and the federal government, but were also responding to the grass-roots efforts for equality by labor leaders and African-Americans in their own region. Ultimately, Frederickson shows clearly how the Dixiecrat revolt cracked the foundation of a one-party rule in the South and led the way to a two party system in the region with the Republican Party becoming a true force there. Finally, it is worth noting that one of our committee members remarked, "of all of the finalists, this is the book that will impact the way I teach the period."

Dr. Gall is an Assistant Professor of History and M.A.E. Director for Social Science with Truman State University. Other members of the Harry S. Truman Book Award subcommittee are Susan M. Hartmann, Professor of History and Women's Studies, Ohio State University; R. Crosby Kemper, III, Chairman and CEO, UMB Bank, N.A.; Steve Neal, Political Editor, Chicago Sun-Times; and Ellen W. Schrecker, Professor of History, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.

The Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs is the private, not-for-profit organization that supports the Truman Presidential Museum & Library in Independence, Missouri. The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of ten presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

About Kari Frederickson:
Kari Frederickson received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University and is now Assistant Professor of History at the University of Alabama, where she teaches courses on the modern South. She currently resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with her husband and daughter.

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