Ellen Spears

Ellen Griffith Spears

Associate Professor

(205) 348-8410


208 Lloyd Hall

Office Hours

Wednesdays 1:00-3:00 pm and by appointment

Undergraduate Education

BA, College of William and Mary

Graduate Education

MA, PhD, Emory University


Southern Spaces, editorial board

Representative Publications


Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town, University of North Carolina Press, 2014, winner of the 2014 Arthur J. Viseltear prize in public health history from the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association.

The Newtown Story: One Community’s Fight for Environmental Justice, photographs by Michael Schwarz, Atlanta: Center for Democratic Renewal, 1998, a collaborative documentary project.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

“Memorializing the Freedom Riders,” Southern Spaces: an interdisciplinary online peer-reviewed journal, http://www.southernspaces.org/contents/2009/spears/1a.html, July 2009.

“Reducing Environmental Burdens: A Southern Agenda,” in American Crisis: Southern Solutions, ed., Anthony Dunbar, Montgomery: New South Press, 2008.

Contributing writer, “The Case for Extending and Amending the Voting Rights Act, Voting Rights Litigation 1982-2006,” Laughlin McDonald, Daniel Levitas, et al., prepared for the U.S. Congress, House Committee on the Judiciary. Atlanta: American Civil Liberties Union, 2006.

“Civil Rights, Immigration, and the Prospects for Social Justice Collaboration,” in The American South in a Global World, eds. James L. Peacock, Harry L. Watson, Carrie R. Matthews, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005, 235-243.

“Making Illnesses Visible: The Newtown Florist Club and the Quest for Environmental Justice in Gainesville, Georgia,” in Emerging Illnesses and Society: Negotiating the Public Health Agenda, eds. Randall M. Packard, Peter J. Brown, Ruth L. Berkelman,  Howard Frumkin, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004, 171-190.

“Voting Disparities in Georgia Counties: A Report on Election 2000,” co-author, Southern Regional Council, February, 2001.

“South Africa vote mixes hope, tension,” The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, June 3, 1999.

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Using Oral History to Tell the Story of the Civil Rights Movement,” with Marcia Klenbort, Social Education: The Official Journal of the National Council for Social  Studies, Vol. 63, No. 4, May/June 1999.