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Brandon Winford

Assistant Professor


"The tragedy in life does not lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach."

   —Benjamin E. Mays

Brandon Winford’s teaching and research interests center on late nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. History, African American history, Southern U.S. history, and Civil Rights history.

Winford’s dissertation, “’The Battle for Freedom Begins Every Morning’: John Hervey Wheeler, Civil Rights, and New South Prosperity,” is about the link between racial equality and economic justice between the 1930s and 1960s. In the context of the black freedom movement in the U.S., the dissertation uses banker-lawyer John Wheeler’s life to examine race, power, and citizenship in the mid-twentieth century South. It argues that Wheeler offered a bold vision of New South prosperity, which included a concrete set of goals and objectives that helped define blacks’ struggle for freedom and democracy. Yet, freedom itself was an empty phrase without equality of opportunity in all facets of society. Wheeler grounded his philosophy in a persistent demand for full citizenship, which he believed to be the only path to black economic power. A key component in reaching that ideal centered on a belief in “freedom of movement,” which meant the South had to embrace a completely integrated society with unrestricted access to institutional resources. Moreover, New South prosperity served as a catalyst and reminder to the white South that the region’s economic welfare was forever bound to the plight of black Americans. In other words, the liberation of blacks from a system of white supremacy was the key to the liberation of whites as well. By exploring Wheeler’s unique sphere of black leadership this work captures the larger relationship between black institutions, their connections to political and economic power, and the “brokering” of the civil rights movement. Winford’s courses at UT deal with American society after World War II.

Research Interests

The New South, Black Business History, Civil Rights, Race Relations, History of Black Education, Politics, the War on Poverty, Urban Renewal, Liberalism, North Carolina History, Biography, and Public History.


PhD, Unites States History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2014)

MA, North Carolina Central University (2007)

BA, North Carolina Central University (2005)

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

" 'The Bright Sunshine of a New Day': John Hervey Wheeler, Black Business, and Civil Rights in North Carolina, 1929-1964," North Carolina Historical Review 93 (July 2016)

 "Black Intellectuals and their Inability to Maintain Balance Between the White Dominated Society and the Black Community" North Carolina Central University Undergraduate Research Journal, 8 (Spring 2005)

Book Reviews

Book Review of Civil Rights in the Texas Borderlands: Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon and Black Activism (2015) by Will Guzmán, Journal of Southern History (August 2016)

Book Review of Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South (2008) by Leslie Brown, North Carolina Historical Review 87 (April 2010)  

Blog Entries

"To Be Proud of Being Who We Are: Remembering Leslie Brown," African American Intellectual History Society, August 14, 2016

Contact Information

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