Susan Ashmore

Charles Howard Candler Professor of History

Susan Youngblood Ashmore is an American historian with a strong interest in the twentieth-century South. She joined the Oxford College faculty in the fall of 2000.  Students in her classes learn to use the tools of history in their studies of the past.  She uses music, art, photographs, and documents to engage students in thinking critically about history.  She teaches The Foundations of American Society: Beginnings to 1877, The Making of Modern America: United States Since 1877, American Civil Rights History, Modern American History 1945 to the present, The New South: 1877 to the Present, America in the 1960s, and Oral History: Engaging with Living Subjects.  In the summer of 2003 she participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University Teachers studying African American Struggles for Freedom and Civil Rights, 1866 to 1965, at the W. E. B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University.  That summer she also traveled to the Mississippi Delta with students as part of Emory's Journeys of Reconciliation program.  In May 2011 and May 2015 she joined Lyn Pace, Oxford's chaplin, and Dr. Molly McGeehe, Assoc Professor of American Studies on Oxford's Global Connections program Civil Rights and the American South.  They traveled through Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi visiting key sites associated with the civil rights movement and racial justice.  During the academic year 2002-2003, Dean Dana Green awarded her the Mizell Award for Superior Performance in furthering the Education of Students.  Oxford College also recognized her for excellence in teaching and service with the Fleming Award in 2008, and the Emory Williams Award in 2017.

Her book Carry It On: The War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, 1964-1972, (University of Georgia Press, 2008) examines how the federal anti-poverty programs sponsored by President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty helped to implement the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the Black Belt of Alabama.  In 2009, her book won the Francis Butler Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association for the best first book in a two year period, and the Willie Lee  Rose Publication Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians for the best work in southern history authored by a woman.  She is currently researching the Wyatt v. Stickney case that originated in Federal District Judge Frank M. Johnson's court in Montgomery, Alabama.  In 1971 using the 14th amendment he expanded civil rights to include the mentally ill ordering that patients in Alabama's mental hospitals had the civil right to be treated to get well and could no longer be warehoused.  Ashmore analyzes Alabama's mental institutions as concentrated sites of southern society.  Through this case and its aftermath many important social issues come to the fore including gender, race, class, religion, public health, and the power of the state that reveal a great deal about the modernization of the South.   Ashmore has published chapters in several anthologies, most recently  "Going Back to Selma: Organizing for Change after the Selma March to Montgomery," in The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980. (University of Georgia Press, 2011), and "Making Her Way in Wallace Country: Lurleen Burns Wallace," in Alabama Women: Their Lives and Times, which she also co-edited with Lisa Lindquist Door (University of Georgia Press, 2017). She has also presented papers at the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, the Southern Association of Women Historians, and the Alabama Women's History Forum.  Ashmore is a Professor of History at Oxford College and an Associated Associate Professor in the Department of History at Emory College of Arts and Sciences.


BA| University of Texas| 1983

MA| University of Virginia| 1989

PhD| Auburn University| 1999