An Interview with Carol Anderson

Amherst College President Michael A. Elliott ’92 interviews historian, educator, and author Carol Anderson.

Carol Anderson

Historian, Educator, and Author

October 11–13, 2023

Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, a New York Times Bestseller, Washington Post Notable Book of 2016, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner.

She is also the author of Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights; 1944-1955; Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960; One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy, which was long-listed for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Galbraith Award in non-fiction; and most recently, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America.

At the core of her research agenda is how policy is made and unmade, how racial inequality and racism affect that process and outcome, and how those who have taken the brunt of those laws, executive orders, and directives have worked to shape, counter, undermine, re-frame, and, when necessary, dismantle the legal and political edifice used to limit their rights and their humanity.

From growing up wondering and worrying about a brother serving in Vietnam to watching her neighborhood descend into a place the 6 o’clock news would repeatedly describe as “on the near eastside today. . .'' Professor Anderson grasped early on that policymakers and activists were at work shaping our world. She set out to find out how and why and then grapple with the consequences.

As an educator and historian, Professor Anderson has been lauded both by colleagues and students alike for her exciting, nuanced, and accessible approach to research and academia. She has received numerous teaching awards, including Emory’s Williams Award and the university’s Teacher-Scholar Award.

Professor Anderson’s role as a public scholar has found her serving on working groups dealing with race, minority rights, and criminal justice at Stanford’s Center for Applied Science and Behavioral Studies, the Aspen Institute, and the United Nations and as a member of the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee. She is currently on the Advisory Board of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative.

She has appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show, PBS NewsHour, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and Democracy Now!, as well as providing commentary for the Huffington Post, The Guardian, New York Times, and Washington Post.