SSU Professor Releases New Civil Rights Journal

mike ezraA Sonoma State University professor has released volume one of the Journal of Civil and Human Rights, a first of its kind academic publication surrounding the freedom struggles of modern U.S. history.

The journal focuses on the civil rights history of African Americans, Latinos, the LGBT community, and others. "These issues previously would be featured in journals that have much broader scopes than ours," says Michael Ezra, chair of the American Multicultural Studies Department at Sonoma State and editor of the biannual journal. "With the Journal of Civil and Human Rights, scholars have a whole new place to put their work."


The publication is aimed at helping graduate students, professors and scholars who are concentrating on the Civil Rights movement. "We hope the Journal of Civil and Human Rights reflects the activists' struggles that flow from past to present," says Ezra.


Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities Thaine Stearns is excited to have a project of such significance connected to Sonoma State. "It indicates our commitment and attention to diversity on this campus," he says.


The journal is published by the University of Illinois press, which will help with promoting and distributing each volume. "Being produced by a major university press is a gold standard for any academic journal," says Stearns.


Ezra is also happy with the partnership. "They're one of the few presses who have a good journals department and do substantial work in African American history," says Ezra.


Ezra, who has been with Sonoma State since 2003, is an expert in the field of post World War II Civil Rights history. His multiple publications include "Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon," an in depth look at the iconic boxer's role in American culture.


The idea for the journal came to Ezra while listening to a speech at an academic conference in 2012 about civil rights history. "The speaker mentioned how deep the subfield was in U.S. history and how there were so many good people working in it," he says. "It got me thinking, a field this deep deserves its own journal."


The journal takes an interdisciplinary look at the topic. "As the fields change, and as my ability as a scholar to reach out to different fields improves, then we'll start to draw even more from different disciplines and subcultures," says Ezra.


Issue two is scheduled to be released in December. For more information, visit http://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/jchr.html


--James Fortier


Photo: Mike Ezra

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