Dr. Ellen Spears’s book Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town recounts the legal fight that began in Anniston in the 1990s against the agrochemical company Monsanto over the dumping of toxic chemicals in the city’s historical African American and white working-class west side, as well as the campaign to safely eliminate chemical weaponry secretively stockpiled near Anniston during the Cold War.

Baptized in PCBs is a narrative history that follows Anniston’s trajectory from its late 19th century designation as the “Model City of the New South” to its 2002 label as “Toxic Town USA.”

Meet Dr. Spears:

  • BA – College of William and Mary (Psychology)
  • MA and PhD – Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts (American Studies)
  • Early career – worked for 20 years in social justice non-profit organizations
  • Hobbies – weaving and photography