Southern Changes Social Justice Database Now On-Line

Southern Changes Social Justice Database Now On-Line


Vol. 22, No. 1, 2000, p. 33

The veteran writers and new voices who have written for the journal Southern Changes for more than two decades make the continuing movement for social justice come alive-often reporting stories before they became news in the mainstream press, consistently providing alternative interpretation. Now the analysis and observations of these writers is available to students, teachers, researchers, activists, public officials, and citizens-at no cost- from an online website and digital database:

Where else but in Southern Changes can you read …

  • Julian Bond reminding us that “democracy demands memory,” legendary filmmaker George Stoney telling how he and Judith Helfand made the textile workers documentary film “The Uprising of ’34,” author Denise Giardina discussing Appalachian culture, Pulitzer Prize winners David Garrow, Harry Ashmore, and Claude Sitton writing on the history of the civil rights movement.
  • Essays and reviews by distinguished historians such as Dan T. Carter, Paul Gaston, Peter Wood, Patricia Sullivan, Mary Fredrickson, David E. Whisnant, and Theda Perdue.
  • Commentaries and interviews by John Egerton, Congressman John Lewis, Texas populist Jim Hightower, Rev. Will D. Campbell, voting rights attorney Laughlin McDonald, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Julius Chambers, novelist Pat Conroy, Selma attorney J. L. Chestnut Jr., Septima Clark, Viginia Durr, homeless activist Rev. Murphy Davis, U. S. Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, Rose Gladney, Lillian Smith, political economist Barbara Ellen Smith, Stetson Kennedy, Leslie Dunbar, Steve Suitts, Tony Dunbar . . . and many, many more observers and interpreters of the American South.

In collaboration, the Beck Center for Electronic Collections at Emory University and the Southern Regional Council have launched the on-line, searchable database of Southern Changes, the Council’s quarterly journal. This digital archive contains full-length original articles, reviews, interviews, essays, and reports that explore the variety of social conditions and cultural issues affecting the South. By entering a key word (e.g. “voting rights,” “desegregation,” “poverty”), author, or date in the website’s search interface, researchers can locate and retrieve appropriate articles from the back volumes of Southern Changes

“We applaud Emory University’s commitment to making this extensive resource on Southern politics and culture, the freedom struggle, and racial justice widely available,” said Wendy Johnson, executive director of the Southern Regional Council.

The project used scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) to make digital versions of Southern Changes. Next, the staff of Emory’s Beck Center proofread and marked-up the issues in SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) to make the articles searchable. The digital edition of the journal currently contains Volume 4 (1982) to Volume 14 (1992) with the Beck Center staff continuing to add material daily.

The collaborative team at Emory University and the Southern Regional Council who worked to produce the digital archive available includes Joan Gotwals, Vice Provost and Director of the Emory libraries; Elizabeth Patterson, director of the Virtual Library Project; Wendy Johnson, Executive Director of the Southern Regional Council; Alice Hickcox, Charles Spornick, Scott Ellis, and Brendan Corcoran of Emory’s Beck Center; Allen Tullos, editor of Southern Changes; David Dreger, Information Systems Manager at SRC; and Ellen Spears, managing editor of the journal and communications director at the SRC.

The launching of the Southern Changes digital database coincides with the commemoration this spring of eighty years of work by the Southern Regional Council since the founding of its predecessor organization, the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, in 1919. A major event, “The Homecoming,” on April 27, 2000 will highlight the past and present contributions of Southerners in promoting racial justice, protecting democratic rights, and broadening civic participation.