Dr. J. Mills Thornton

On the Significance of Dr. Martin Luther King

April 10, 2005
7:30 p.m.
Irma B. Moore Hall Auditorium 



Chancellor Guin Nance

The Durr Lectures/McPhillips Essay Award

Dr. Alan Gribben

Introduction of Speaker

Ann Durr Lyon


Dr. J. Mills Thornton

Questions and Answers


Closing Remarks

Chancellor Guin Nance

Dr. J. Mills Thornton

It is fitting that on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dr. J. Mills Thornton, noted Southern political historian, will tell us about the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A professor of history at the University of Michigan, Thornton received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1974 under Dr. C. Van Woodward, an expert on the South during the second half of the 20th century. Thornton’s first book wasPolitics and Power in a Slave Society, 1800-1860, published in 1978. He also wrote a groundbreaking essay on the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the Alabama Review. It was the first treatise on the struggle’s origin in the 1920s and its significance to local politics.
Appointed Fellow by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars for 1994-95, Thornton titled his project “Segregation and Community: Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, 1940–65.”
Thornton’s latest work is Dividing Lines: Municipal Politics and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, and he is now on sabbatical working on yet another.
In addition, Thornton has helped shape several prestigious documentaries, including George Wallace: Setting the Woods on Fire and the PBS series Eyes on the Prize.