How do historians become historians? That's the question answered in the essays of Becoming Historians, just published by the University of Chicago Press. Among those contributing -- senior scholars in the field today -- are Joan Wallach Scott, Linda Gordon, David A. Hollinger and the two co-editors of the volume, James M. Banner Jr. and John R. Gillis. Banner, co-founder of the National History Center and historian-in-residence at American University; and Gillis, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, responded to questions about the book.
In 1962, with court backing, James Meredith became the first black person to enroll at the University of Mississippi. His struggle to enroll, and the violent actions by mobs trying to keep him out, led to a legal and political showdown that reached the White House. While there have been previous studies of this period, Charles W.