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Winford Publishes Book on Black Banking and Civil Rights

Brandon WinfordHow does business intersect with civil rights? Former UT Humanities Center Fellow and Assistant Professor of History Brandon Winford has published a groundbreaking study of black banking that shows how economics and freedom intertwine.

Winford’s new book, John Hervey Wheeler, Black Banking, and the Economic Struggle for Civil Rights, focuses on John Hervery Wheeler, a bank president and civil rights lawyer from North Carolina who was appointed to high-ranking positions by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and played a vital role in fighting for full citizenship and expanding southern economic equality for African Americans. Published by the University Press of Kentucky, Winford’s study explores the life of this important but often overlooked titan of the 20th-century financial community and his impact on the black freedom struggle. 

For his research, Professor Winford consulted previously unexamined sources from the John Hervey Wheeler Collection at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library. He noted that as a 2016 UT Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, he had time and resources to complete the project, including funding to help cover publishing costs such as indexing and image copyrights for over 30 photographs.

“I had the opportunity to work on my book daily without the distractions that come with the normal responsibilities of being a faculty member,” Winford observed. He added that the most difficult part of writing the historical study was to transform it into an engaging narrative about Wheeler’s life. “I could come to work at the Humanities Center ready to think, write, reflect, brainstorm, and analyze—truly invest my time and energy in the historical process and everything it entails.”

Charles W. McKinney Jr., Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College, writes that Winford’s book is “a much-needed and insightful contribution to the historiography of the black freedom struggle.” The book is now available for preorder and will be officially released December 9th, 2019.


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