Macon, Georgia– Mercer University Press author Andrew M. Manis was presented with the Georgia Author of the Year Award for History for his book Macon Black and White: An Unutterable Separation in the American Century on June 4 at the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus in Atlanta. The presentation was made at the 41st Annual Georgia Author of the Year Awards Dinner hosted by Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College, the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, the Margaret T. and Henry C. Bourne Jr. Chair in Poetry and the H. Bruce McEver Chair Visiting Chair in Writing.
Macon Black and White: An Unutterable Separation in the American Century was published by Mercer University Press in 2004. A longitudinal study of race relations in a major Southern city, Macon Black and White examines the ways white and black Maconites interacted over the course of the entire twentieth century. Beginning in the 1890s, in what has been called the “nadir of race relations in America,” Manis traces the arduous journey toward racial equality in the heart of Central Georgia. The book describes how, despite incremental progress toward that goal, segregationist pressures sought to silence voices for change on both sides of the color line.
Providing a snapshot of black-white relations for every decade of the twentieth century, this compellingly written story highlights the ways indigenous developments in Macon combined with other statewide, regional, and national factors to shape the struggle for and against racial equality. Manis shows how both African Americans and a cadre of white moderates, separately and at times together, gradually increased pressure for change in a conservative Georgia city. Showcasing how disfranchisement, lynching, interracial efforts toward the humanization of segregation, the world wars, and the Civil Rights Movement affected the pace of change, Manis describes the eventual rise of a black political class and the election of Macon’s first African-American mayor. The book uses demographic realities as well as the perspectives of black and white Maconites to paint a portrait of contemporary black-white relations in the city. Manis concludes with suggestions on how the city might continue the struggle for racial justice and overcome the “unutterable separation” that still plagues Macon in the early years of a new century. Macon Black and White is a powerful story that no one interested in racial change over time can afford to miss.
Andrew M. Manis is assistant professor of History, Macon State College. He is the author or editor of four books, all dealing with religion and race relations: Southern Civil Religions in Conflict: Civil Rights and the Culture Wars; Birmingham Revolutionaries: Fred Shuttlesworth and the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights; and A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, which won a number of prizes including the 2000 Lillian Smith Book Award.
Macon Black and White: An Unutterable Separation in the American Century was selected as a semi-finalist for the 25th Annual Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.