PhD, Duke University
BA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
David Carter received his PhD from Duke University in 2001 and a BA with Highest Honors in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992. Carter’s research and teaching interests are in the history of the Black Freedom Struggle, the history of the American South since the Civil War, the history of racial terror lynching, “race riots,” and other forms of racialized violence, and U.S. history since 1945, especially the Vietnam War era. He is particularly drawn to the role of race, ideology, and historical memory in shaping American history.
Carter is the author of The Music Has Gone Out of the Movement: Civil Rights and the Johnson Administration, 1965-1968 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), a study of the shifting relationships between the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and grassroots advocates of racial and economic equality. The book extends the traditional timeline of the Civil Rights Movement beyond passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 while situating the evolving Black Freedom Struggle against the backdrop of urban uprisings and the Vietnam War. His commentary on the history of the Kerner Commission, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, is featured in the documentary film The Riot Report, premiering in 2024 on PBS as part of the “American Experience” series.
His article “The Williamston Freedom Movement: Civil Rights at the Grass Roots in Eastern North Carolina, 1957-1964,” appearing in the North Carolina Historical Review (January, 1999), won the Robert Diggs Wimberly Connor Award given by the Review for the best article published in that journal in the preceding year. His biographical sketches of civil rights leaders Andrew Young and Julian Bond are featured in the two-volume reference collection Civil Rights in the United States, edited by Waldo Martin and Patricia Sullivan (Macmillan, 2000). More recently he has written the foreword to Frye Gaillard’s Prophet from Plains: Jimmy Carter and His Legacy (University of Georgia Press, 2007), contributed an essay entitled “Romper Lobbies and Coloring Lessons: Grassroots Visions and Political Realities in the Battle for Head Start in Mississippi, 1965-1967” to the collection Making a New South: Race, Leadership, and Community after the Civil War, edited by Paul A. Cimbala and Barton C. Shaw (University Press of Florida, 2007), and published a chapter “From ‘We Shall Overcome’ to ‘We Shall Overrun’: The Transformation of US Media Coverage of the Black Freedom Struggle, 1964-1968, in Comparative Perspective,” in Media and Revolt: Strategies and Performances from the 1960s to the Present, edited by Kathrin Fahlenbrach, Erling Sivertsen, and Rolf Werenskjold (Bergahn Books, 2014).
Carter was involved for several years in collaborative research and writing on Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights policies with Kent Germany of the University of South Carolina, resulting in the co-edited volume The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson: Mississippi Burning and the Passage of the Civil Rights Act (Norton, 2011). He has also served as a project consultant on civil rights history for various grants with colleagues in the Social Science program in Auburn’s College of Education and has worked on multiple occasions with teachers from Auburn, Opelika, and beyond over the past two decades.
Prior to coming to Auburn University in 2000, Carter taught at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and at Duke University. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at Auburn, covering American history, the history of the Civil Rights Movement in and beyond the South and the larger Black Freedom Struggle, the history of the Vietnam War, and world history. He served as the faculty advisor to the Auburn chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society for six years, from 2000 to 2006, and is a Lifetime Member of the Southern Historical Association and the Alabama Association of Historians. He is also a member of the Organization of American Historians and the Alabama Historical Association. He was among the original faculty members supporting the establishment of Auburn University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter when it received its charter in 2001 and has regularly served as an officer of that honor society.
Black Freedom Struggle, American South since the Civil War, U.S. history since 1945, Vietnam War