Radical filmmaking article wins South Carolina's Farrar Award in Media and Civil Rights History

22 Apr 2017 11:42 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina is delighted to announce the winner of the 2017 Ronald T. and Gayla D. Farrar Award in Media and Civil Rights History: R. Joseph Parrott, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Professor Parrott wins the Farrar Award for his article published in the July–September 2015 issue of Race & Class: “A Luta Continua: Radical Filmmaking, Pan-African Liberation and Communal Empowerment.” This award recognizes the best journal article or chapter in an edited book on the historical relationship between media and civil rights published during the previous two years.

The contest judges, a national panel of three historians with expertise in civil rights and media history, selected Dr. Parrott’s article as the award winner from the largest field of submissions in the Farrar Award’s five competitions. In commenting on the award-winning study, the judges wrote: 

“With a probing examination of activist filmmaking and transnational anti-imperialism efforts, this insightful, imaginative, deeply researched, and richly engrossing article compels us to rethink the temporal and spatial boundaries of the Black Freedom Struggle. Mining a range of compelling archival sources, including oral interviews and FBI reports, Parrott is to be commended for drawing renewed critical attention to (Robert) Van Lierop’s film and its profound impact among African American activists, journalists, and intellectuals.”

Dr. Parrott delivered the Farrar Award Lecture at the Media and Civil Rights History Symposium sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina on Saturday, April 1.

Parrott completed his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, having held graduate fellowships with International Security Studies at Yale University, the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium at the University of Chicago. His dissertation, “Struggle for Solidarity: The New Left, African Decolonization, and the End of the Cold War Consensus,” is a broad transnational history that considers Portuguese decolonization in Africa as a noteworthy component in transforming western engagement with the global south. Parrott’s work cuts across intellectual, diplomatic, and socio-political history to illuminate how questions of race and empire drove the policy choices of U.S. leaders, African nationalists, and Portuguese officials, as well as the agenda of a wider western Left.

Finalists were:

  • Derek Charles Catsam, “The African Drum, Bantu World and South Africa—United States Transnational Linkages, 1949-1954,” in Human Rights, Race, and Resistance in Africa and the African Diaspora, edited by Toyin Faola and Cacee Hoyer, 109-125. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • Caroline Emmons, “Respectable Activists: Media Images of Women in the Early Civil Rights Era Images,” in Women’s Magazines in Print and New Media, edited by Noliwe Rooks, Victoria Rose Pass, and Ayana K. Weekley, 45-57. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • Edgar Simpson, “ ‘A Traitor to His Class’: Race and Publisher W.E. ‘Ned’ Chilton III, 1953-1984,” Journalism History 42, no. 2 (Summer 2016): 70-80.

The Farrar Award judges were Drs. Patricia Sullivan (University of South Carolina), Phillip Jeter (Winston-Salem State University), and Bobby Donaldson (University of South Carolina).

Honoring University of South Carolina Professor Emeritus Ronald Farrar and his late wife, Gayla Dennis Farrar, this award recognizes the best journal article or chapter in an edited collection on the historical relationship between the media and civil rights. Ronald Farrar joined the faculty of what was then the College of Journalism and Mass Communications in 1986. He served as the College’s interim dean from July 1999 until his retirement in 2001. During his time at the College, Farrar served as director of graduate studies, helped develop the school's mass communications doctorate program and was instrumental in the development of Newsplex, a training center to define and demonstrate best practices for the future of journalism and strategic communication. He is a noted journalism history scholar and has published multiple textbooks about journalism, media history and media law. Gayla Farrar was an instructor of English at Arkansas State University and the University of Missouri. A scholarship is named in her honor at the University of Mississippi. She also devoted her time to helping journalism students at the University of South Carolina, including many international students. (Source: University of South Carolina press release)

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