Children of the Changing South

Foster Dickson’s edited collection Children of the Changing South: Accounts of Growing Up During and After Integration is available from McFarland & Co., Publisher in a paperback edition for $19.99. The collection contains memoirs by eighteen writers and historians who recall their formative experiences in the South. The earliest memoirs are set during the turbulent Civil Rights era, and later memoirs examine Southern culture during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Foster Dickson is available for book signings and talks on the subjects covered in the collection, including the post-Civil Rights era South, changing roles for Southern women, and school integration.

Contributors include Jim Grimsley (How I Shed My Skin), Ravi Howard (Driving the King), and Kathleen Rooney (Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk).

From the publisher’s description:

Although much attention has been paid to the adults who led, participated in, or witnessed the civil rights movement, much less attention has been given to those who were children during that era. Especially in the South, these children of the 1950s and afterward came of age in the midst of major societal shifts regarding race, gender, social class, and industry as the South re-branded itself the “Sun Belt.” In this collection of memoirs, writers, teachers, scholars and historians recall growing up in the South from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, revealing how the region changed over time, as well as how a Southern childhood varied across time, race, gender, socio-economic status, and geography. By viewing these remembrances through the lens of multiculturalism, this collection offers anuanced understanding of how the pre-civil rights movement South evolved into the South of the 21st century.

The Life and #Poetry of John Beecher

Foster Dickson’s The Life and Poetry of John Beecher, 1904 – 1980 is the only published work about this writer, poet, editor, teacher, and journalist from Birmingham, Alabama who made the fight for social justice his life’s work. The book is available from Edwin Mellen Press for $109.95 in an academic library edition. Foster is available for book talks about John Beecher, his work, and his influence.

From the publisher’s description:

This work is a two-part overview to this writer, poet, journalist, activist, and sociologist. The introduction covers some background on how scholars and academics have neglected Beecher, for a variety of possible reasons. Part one consists of a biography that centers on Beecher’s working life, only briefly discussing his four marriages and only mentioning that he had four children. Part two covers a sampling of his poetry, offering explications and critical analysis that point to the conclusion that Beecher should not have been neglected or omitted from literary study to the extent that he has been. The afterword discusses the author’s experiences during his research process, including meeting Beecher’s widow Barbara. Overall, the work is intended to reintroduce John Beecher to the literary community and incite further discussion about him.

From Fred Whitehead’s introduction to the book:

In addition to the life, Dickson explicates the poetry, in the context of critical condemnation, and sometimes, of praise. It is remarkable that using the same English language, critics could produce such wildly varying judgments. Dickson carefully and diligently explores the development and promulgation of “the canon,” so devised by bourgeois scholars as to entirely exclude Beecher, and others who shared his aesthetics. Bizarrely, these adverse critics denied that Beecher had an aesthetic, or was even a poet at all.