John A. Kirk is George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History as well as the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity director. He was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, in the United Kingdom, and holds an undergraduate degree in American Studies from the University of Nottingham and a PhD in American History from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He taught at the University of Wales, Lampeter (1994-99) and Royal Holloway, University of London (1999-2010) before coming to UALR in the summer of 2010.
Dr. Kirk’s research focuses on the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, the South, and Arkansas, and the history of post-New Deal southern politics, society and culture. He has published eight books and written in a wide variety of journals, edited book collections, and popular history magazines including BBC History, History Today and Historically Speaking.
Kirk has won a number of awards for his research including the F. Hampton Roy Award from the Pulaski County Historical Association, and the Walter L. Brown Award, the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award, and the Lucille Westbrook Award from the Arkansas Historical Association. He has held grants from the British Academy, the British Association of American Studies, the Roosevelt Study Center (Middleburg, the Netherlands), the Rockefeller Archive Center (New York) and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library (Boston).
Dr. Kirk’s current research interests include the long civil rights movement, African American history, Arkansas history, southern history, and the U.S. since 1945.
Race and Ethnicity in Arkansas: New Perspectives. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2014.
An edited collection of essays by leading scholars on state history that examines race and ethnic relations in Arkansas from statehood to present.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. London and New York: Routledge, 2013.
An overview of the iconic civil rights leader and the movement he led accompanied by selected illustrative primary documents.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement: Controversies and Debates. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
An edited collection of scholarly work written on Martin Luther King, Jr, and the civil rights movement that frames and illuminates core historiographical issues and concerns.
Beyond Little Rock: The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2007. Foreword by Minnijean Brown Trickey.
A collection of essays on the long civil rights movement in Arkansas with a foreword by one of the Little Rock Nine students who desegregated Little Rock’s Central High School in September 1957.
Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1940-1970. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002.
A study of the long civil rights movement in Arkansas that looks at the people, organizations and events that shaped events before and after the desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School.