Dr. John A. Kirk is the director of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Joel E. Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity and the George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History.
Kirk was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, in the United Kingdom. He 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 UA Little Rock in the summer of 2010.
Kirk’s research focuses on the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, the South and Arkansas. 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.
He has won a number of awards for his research including the F. Hampton Roy Award from the Pulaski County Historical Association, and the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award, the Lucille Westbrook Award, the Violet B. Gingles Award, and the Walter L. Brown Award from the Arkansas Historical Association.
Kirk has also held research 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).
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 primary documents.
Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2011. Co-edited with Jennifer Jensen Wallach. An edited collection of essays and documents that explore the forgotten history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas in the 1960s.
An Epitaph for Little Rock: A Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective on the Central High Crisis. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2008. Foreword by Juan Williams. An edited collection of signal essays on the 1957 Little Rock school crisis with an original introductory essay that provides an overview and guide to the existing literature.
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 the key historiographical issues.
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.
Martin Luther King, Jr. London and New York: Pearson Longman Profiles in Power series, 2005. [Now published by Routledge]. A biography of the iconic civil rights leader.
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, including the people, organizations and events that shaped the African-American struggle for freedom and equality in the city and state.