Areas of Expertise
PhD, Columbia University, 1971
Research Categories: 20th Century, Women, Race, Social, and Oral History
Research Description: Much of William Chafe's professional scholarship reflects his long-term interest in issue of race and gender equality. His dissertation and first book focused on the changing social and economic roles of American women in the fifty years after the woman suffrage amendment. Subsequent books compared the patterns of race and gender discrimination in America. His book on the origins of the sit-in movement in North Carolina helped to re-orient scholarship on civil rights toward social history and community studies. Chafe has written two books on the history of post-World War II America, a major new overview of 20th century America (The Rise and Fall of the American Century), a history of personality and politics in modern America (Private Lives/Public Consequences), and a biography of the liberal crusader Allard Lowenstein. He is currently working on a revisionist overview of the Jm Crow era to be entitled Behind the Veil: African American Life During the Age of Segregation. The author of twelve books overall, he has received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award (1981) for Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina and the Black Struggle for Freedom (1980), the Sidney Hillman book award (1994) for Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American Liberalism (1993), and the Lillian Smith Award for Remembering Jim Crow (2003).