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Glenn T. Eskew

Ph.D., University of Georgia, 1993
phone: 404-413-6354

Teaching at Georgia State University since 1993, Professor of History Glenn T. Eskew researches the U.S. South. In late 2013, the University of Georgia Press publish his most recent book Johnny Mercer: Southern Songwriter for the World. Researching Mercer's life over the past fifteen years, Eskew finds the jazz infused music that Savannah native Johnny Mercer (1909-1976) produced as the writer of nearly 1,500 songs, as president of Capitol Records which he co-founded in 1942, and as one of the country's foremost midcentury performers, helped transform popular song at home and abroad, as he joined other southern diaspora entertainers with whom he worked such as Nat "King" Cole, Dinah Shore, Billie Holliday and Harry James, in creating the global soundtrack of the American Consensus. Writing songs for Hollywood musicals, Broadway shows, radio and record release, Mercer created "Skylark," "Laura," "Autumn Leaves," "Satin Doll," "Old Black Magic," and "Moon River," immortal contributions to the Great American Songbook that continually regenerate as each generation discovers them anew. Eskew's dissertation, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1997 as But For Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle, won the Francis Butler Simkins Prize of the South Historical Association. This vivid narrative explains the events in Birmingham leading up to the climatic protests in 1963 that forced the nation to confront the civil rights movement and accept an end to the racial discrimination in America. In 2001 Eskew published two edited volumes of essays, Paternalism in a Southern City with Ed Cashin about Augusta, Georgia, and Labor in the Modern South, both with UGA Press. He has also written several articles and book chapters that explore the commemoration of the civil rights movement as an expression of toleration. Eskew has lectured widely on southern topics at home and abroad, frequently working with schoolteachers.