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Scott Weightman

Studying for PhD in American Studies

Thesis Title

  • The Outward Face of Massive Resistance: Segregationists’ Media Strategies during the 1950s and 1960s

The growing potency of the black Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the decline in support for racial theories and the increasing nationalisation of American life, represented a salient threat to the culture of white supremacy in the southern states. In this transformative context, how did segregationists seek to reignite support for segregation and appeal to a broader national audience? What strategies did they pursue, and what impact did they have?

This project traces the development of segregationists’ use of a rapidly developing mass media, including television, radio, newspapers and magazines, and investigates the variety and expediency of their strategies. By examining the text and visual imagery of segregationists’ media campaigns, the study demonstrates how they adapted to changing attitudes, and explores the metamorphosis of southern resistance into the national conservatism of Nixon and Reagan. Such an analysis reveals the emergence of more palatable colour-blind arguments. Some of these approaches were co-opted by Republican strategists from the late-1960s onwards and continue to appear in mainstream US media today.





  • “‘The Truth For A Change’ – The Citizens’ Council Forum, States’ Rights and the Marketability of Segregation” - paper given at the 2016 HOTCUS Annual Conference (08/07/2016)
  • “The Citizens’ Council Forum: ‘The American Viewpoint with a Southern Accent’?” – paper given at the British Academy Conference: Civil Rights Documentary Cinema and the 1960s: Transatlantic Conversations on History, Race and Rights (25/05/2016)
  • “Carleton Putnam and the Citizens’ Council Forum: Broadcasting White Supremacy on the American Airwaves, 1962-1966” – paper given at the University of Leicester Postgraduate History Conference (17/05/2016)
  • “The Outward Face of Segregation” – poster presentation delivered at the Midlands3Cities Research Festival (12/05/2016) 

Conference/Symposium Organization:
  • Co-organiser of the inaugural Midlands3Cities Research Festival (12/05/2016)
  • Conference assistant for the British Academy Conference: Civil Rights Documentary Cinema and the 1960s: Transatlantic Conversations on History, Race and Rights (25/05/2016)

Public Engagement Activities


  • 2016 HOTCUS Postgraduate Paper Prize (23/08/2017)
  • AHRC International Placement Scheme Fellowship at the Library of Congress (09/01/2017-08/04/2017) For information about my project at the Library of Congress see the following write-up produced by the University of Leicester's press team: How Segregationists Sold Their Message on US Television (31/08/2016)
  • Roosevelt Study Centre Research Grant (11/07/2016-19/07/2016)
  • Midlands3Cities PhD Studentship

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