C. Vann Woodward

Comer Vann Woodward (November 13, 1908 - December 17, 1999) was a preeminent American historian focusing primarily on the American South and race relations.

C. Vann Woodward was born in Vanndale, a town named after his mother's aristocratic family, in Cross County, Arkansas. Woodward attended high school in Morrilton, Arkansas.

He attended Henderson-Brown College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas for two years. He transferred to Emory University in 1930 where he graduated. He received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina.

Woodward took graduate courses at Columbia University in 1931 where he met, and was influenced by, Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance movement. In 1932 he worked for the defense of Angelo Hernandez, a young Communist Party member who had been accused of subversive activities.

Woodward taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1946 to 1961 and at Yale from 1961 to 1967.

In 1974, during Congressional deliberations concerning the grounds for recommending the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, John Doar, the Special Counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary, summond Woodward to Washington, DC. Doar asked Woodward to create for their Committee a historical study of misconduct in previous Administrations and how the Presidents responded. Woodward led a group of fourteen historians and they produced a thorough 400 page report in less than 4 months. The report was then published by Dell Publishing as Responses of the Presidents to Charges of Misconduct.

Woodward won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for Mary Chestnut's Civil War. He won the Bancroft Prize for The Origins of the New South. Martin Luther King, Jr called The Strange Career of Jim Crow "the historical bible of the civil rights movement."

In 1998 Woodward co-sponsored a statement by 400 historians opposing the attempted impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

C. Vann Woodward died in Hamden, Connecticut.

The Southern Historical Association has established the C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize awarded annually to the best dissertation on southern history.

Some Works by C. Vann Woodward

  • Tom Watson, Agrarian Rebel (1938)
  • Origins of the New South, 1877–1913 (1951)
  • Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction (1951)
  • The Strange Career of Jim Crow (1955)
  • The Burden of Southern History (1960)
  • The Battle of Leyte Gulf (1965)
  • American Counterpoint (1971)
  • Mary Chestnut’s Civil War (1981) editor
  • The Oxford History of the United States (1982–99)
  • The Private Mary Chestnut (1984)

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