"Examines an important, often overlooked locus of political conflict in the 1960s South: the college campus . . . Billingsley has written a useful book whose discussion of the 'culture wars' between southern locals and cosmopolitans will make it required reading for students of the 1960s."
—American Historical Review
"Explores a fascinating episode in North Carolina history . . . Challenges the view offered by such scholars as V. O. Key and William Chafe that race did not drive North Carolina politics."
"Billingsley's talent as a historian lies in his animated rendition of institutional and state politics capturing the spirit of political and social resistance on both sides of the controversy. . . . [An] excellent addition to the literature exploring the social and ideological politics of public universities, prompting us to reflect upon their role in shaping our national history."
—History of Education Quarterly
"Elaborates a useful, accurate, and quite finely told story, tracing connections to major political figures, and connections also to the ongoing civil rights movements."
—Academe: Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors
"The book offers much more than an institutional history. It is a thorough examintation of muddy state politics and the delicate dance public administrators had to perform with the legistlature and their own campus constituents. It uses the Chapel Hill campus and the speaker ban as a lens through which to examine broader issues of institutional autonomy and how autonomy is influenced by state and national events, political attitudes, and petty squabbles."
"Remarkable . . . The author has demonstrated some of my favorite people doing things that I wish that they had not done."
—John Herbert Roper, editor of C. Vann Woodward: A Southern Historian and His Critics
"Impressive, well researched, and engaging. [This book] should attract a diverse group of readers with interests ranging from the civil rights movement to the history of higher education."
—James L. Leloudis, author of Schooling in the New South: Pedagogy, Self, and North Carolina, 1880-1920
Contrary to its aims, the speaker ban law spawned a small but powerfully organized student resistance led by the Students for a Democratic Society at the University of North Carolina. The SDS, quickly joined by more traditional student groups, mobilized student "radicals" in a memorable effort to halt this breach of their constitutional rights. Highlighting the crisis point of the civil rights movement in North Carolina, Communists on Campus exposes the activities and machinations of prominent political and educational figures Allard Lowenstein, Terry Sanford, William Friday, Herbert Aptheker, and Jesse Helms in an account that epitomizes the social and political upheaval of sixties America.
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