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Politics and Economy:
The Solid South?
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Dan T. Carter Biography

Is it possible for a Democratic presidential candidate to win in the South? Bill Moyers talks to Dan T. Carter, one of the nation's foremost historians on U.S. and Southern history.

Dan T. Carter
Dan T. Carter

Dan T. Carter, formerly Kenan University Professor at Emory University, was appointed the first Educational Foundation Professor of History at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 2000. The South Carolina native graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1962 and completed his graduate work in history at the University of Wisconsin and the University of North Carolina. Over the last 35 years, he has been a professor and visiting scholar at five other institutions including the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, London's Westminster University, Cambridge University and the University of Genoa.

The author and editor of more than 40 articles and seven works of history, Carter won the Bancroft Prize for SCOTTSBORO: A TRAGEDY OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH. (1970). In addition to the Bancroft Prize, Scottsboro received the Saturday Review Anisfield Wolfe Award, the Lillian Smith Award and a special citation from the Mystery Writers of America for the author's success at combining "high level scholarship and the prose quality of the best mystery writers."

His account of the aftermath of the American Civil War, WHEN THE WAR WAS OVER: THE FAILURE OF SELF-RECONSTRUCTION IN THE SOUTH, 1865-1867 (1985), won the Jules Landry Prize and the Avery Craven Award of the Organization of American Historians. THE POLITICS OF RAGE: GEORGE WALLACE, THE ORIGINS OF THE NEW CONSERVATISM AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICAN POLITICS received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize as well as the Sulzby Prize in Political Science.

In 1996, Louisiana State University Press published Carter's study of Presidential Politics entitled, FROM GEORGE WALLACE TO NEWT GINGRICH: RACE IN THE CONSERVATIVE COUNTERREVOLUTION, 1963-1994. In his review in the Washington Post, columnist David Broder praised the Wallace to Gingrich book and the Wallace biography as critical works in explaining the impact of the fiery Alabama politician upon American politics. Together, said Broder, the two books established Carter as one of the nation's leading authorities on race relations.

He has also been a consultant for a number of television documentaries and docudramas. His first book on the Scottsboro civil rights case of the 1930s became the basis for a major NBC television docudrama in 1977 (JUDGE HORTON AND THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS). After working as an adviser on number of television documentaries, he joined three-time Emmy winner Paul Stekler as chief historical adviser and principle on-camera commentator for GEORGE WALLACE: "SETTIN' THE WOODS ON FIRE," a three hour biographical documentary on Alabama governor George Wallace and his impact upon American politics. The film, based on Carter's book, THE POLITICS OF RAGE, aired in the spring of 2000 on PBS's series, THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and was nominated for three Emmys. Carter, Stekler and Sandra Guardado received an Emmy from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for their historical research on the Wallace film. More recently, he was one of the primary advisers and on-camera commentators on the 2001 documentary film, SCOTTSBORO: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY that was nominated for an Emmy and for an Oscar for best documentary that year.

He has several essays forthcoming including an analysis of the interrelationship between the politics and policies of the Clinton administration and a lengthy opinion essay on what he believes to be the state of America's civic society. He is also at work on what he calls a "meditation on American political culture" as seen through the life of Forrest Carter, a violent Klansman of the 1950s and 1960s who created a new identity as "Forrest" Carter in 1972 and became a successful novelist, writing such best selling books as THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, WATCH FOR ME ON THE MOUNTAIN and THE EDUCATION OF LITTLE TREE.

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