University of North Carolina Press

About Us

The University of North Carolina Press, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is a nonprofit publisher of both scholarly and general-interest books and journals.  The Press advances the University of North Carolina’s triple mission of teaching, research, and public service by publishing first-rate books and journals for students, scholars, and general readers. 

Established in 1922, UNC Press was the first university press in the South and one of the first in the nation. Our regional publishing program—aimed at general readers and offering engaging, authoritative work on all aspects of the region’s history and culture, its natural and built environment, its music, food, literature, geography, plant and animal life—has been widely adopted in other parts of the country. Over the years, Press books have won hundreds of prestigious awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and those of many national scholarly societies. Today, the imprint of UNC Press is recognized worldwide as a mark of publishing excellence—both for what we publish and for how we publish. 

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Featured Titles from the University of North Carolina Press

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Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell
Alison M. Parker

On Edelweiss
The first full-length biography of a towering figure in the suffrage and civil rights movements.

Born into slavery during the Civil War, Mary Church Terrell (1863–1954) would become one of the most prominent activists of her time, with a career bridging the late nineteenth century to the civil rights movement of the 1950s. The first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a founding member of the NAACP, Terrell collaborated closely with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Unceasing Militant is the first full-length biography of Terrell, bringing her vibrant voice and personality to life. Though most accounts of Terrell focus almost exclusively on her public activism, Alison M. Parker also looks at the often turbulent, unexplored moments in her life to provide a more complete account of a woman dedicated to changing the culture and institutions that perpetuated inequality throughout the United States.

Drawing on newly discovered letters and diaries, Parker weaves together the joys and struggles of Terrell’s personal, private life with the challenges and achievements of her public, political career, producing a stunning portrait of an often-under recognized political leader.

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Recasting the Vote : How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement
Cathleen D. Cahill

On Edelweiss
Revealing the multiracial cast of women who changed the course of the suffrage movement.

We think we know the story of women’s suffrage in the United States: women met at Seneca Falls, marched in Washington, D.C., and demanded the vote until they won it with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. But the fight for women’s voting rights extended far beyond these familiar scenes. From social clubs in New York’s Chinatown to conferences for Native American rights, and in African American newspapers and pamphlets demanding equality for Spanish-speaking New Mexicans, a diverse cadre of extraordinary women struggled to build a movement that would truly include all women, regardless of race or national origin. In Recasting the Vote, Cathleen D. Cahill tells the powerful stories of a multiracial group of activists who propelled the national suffrage movement toward a more inclusive vision of equal rights. Cahill reveals a new cast of heroines largely ignored in earlier suffrage histories: Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Ša), Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Carrie Williams Clifford, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, and Adelina “Nina” Luna Otero-Warren. With these feminists of color in the foreground, Cahill recasts the suffrage movement as an unfinished struggle that extended beyond the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

As we celebrate the centennial of a great triumph for the women’s movement, Cahill’s powerful history reminds us of the work that remains.

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Step It Up and Go : The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk
David Menconi

– Watch the trailer!
– On Edelweiss
Artists shaping a century of music in North Carolina.

This book is a love letter to the artists, scenes, and sounds defining North Carolina’s extraordinary contributions to American popular music. David Menconi spent three decades immersed in the state’s music, where traditions run deep but the energy expands in countless directions. Menconi shows how working-class roots and rebellion tie North Carolina’s Piedmont blues, jazz, and bluegrass to beach music, rock, hip-hop, and more. From mill towns and mountain coves to college-town clubs and the stage of American Idol, Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk, Step It Up and Go celebrates homegrown music just as essential to the state as barbecue and basketball.

Spanning a century of history from the dawn of recorded music to the present, and with sidebars and photos that help reveal the many-splendored glory of North Carolina’s sonic landscape, this is a must-read for every music lover.

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Broke: Patients Talk About Money With Their Doctor
Michael Stein, M.D.


On Edelweiss
A lyrical look at poverty in America.

In this age of shortened office visits, doctors take care of their patients’ immediate needs and often elide their own personal histories. But as reflected in Broke, Michael Stein takes the time to listen to the experiences of his patients whose financial challenges complicate every decision in life they make. Stein asks his patients to tell him about their financial conditions not only to find out how to better treat them but also to bear witness to their very survival and the power of human resilience. Stein’s intimate vignettes capture these encounters, allowing his patients to offer profound, moving, and unguarded reflections about their struggles, sometimes in a single sentence.

Broke is a quietly passionate critique of a country that has grown callous to the plight of the poor, the tens of millions of people in the United States who live below the poverty line and who have no obvious path to security. Full of heartbreaking and surprising details and framed by a wry, knowing, and empathic humor, there is no other book that illuminates the experience of people facing economic hardship in this way.

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Whose Blues? Facing Up to Race and the Future of the Music
Adam Gussow

On Edelweiss
Sparking honest conversation on the past, present, and future of the blues.

Mamie Smith’s pathbreaking 1920 recording of “Crazy Blues” set the pop music world on fire, inaugurating a new African American market for “race records.” Not long after, such records also brought black blues performance to an expanding international audience. A century later, the mainstream blues world has transformed into a multicultural and transnational melting pot, taking the music far beyond the black southern world of its origins. But not everybody is happy about that. If there’s “No black. No white. Just the blues,” as one familiar meme suggests, why do some blues people hear such pronouncements as an aggressive attempt at cultural appropriation and an erasure of traumatic histories that lie deep in the heart of the music? Then again, if “blues is black music,” as some performers and critics insist, what should we make of the vibrant global blues scene, with its all-comers mix of nationalities and ethnicities?

In Whose Blues?, award-winning blues scholar and performer Adam Gussow confronts these challenging questions head-on. Using blues literature and history as a cultural anchor, Gussow defines, interprets, and makes sense of the blues for the new millennium. Drawing on the blues tradition’s major writers including W. C. Handy, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Amiri Baraka, and grounded in his first-person knowledge of the blues performance scene, Gussow’s thought-provoking book kickstarts a long overdue conversation.

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Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

On Edelweiss
How real estate segregated Black America after redlining.

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, reeling from a wave of urban uprisings, politicians finally worked to end the practice of redlining. Reasoning that the turbulence could be calmed by turning Black city-dwellers into homeowners, they passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, and set about establishing policies to induce mortgage lenders and the real estate industry to treat Black homebuyers equally. The disaster that ensued revealed that racist exclusion had not been eradicated, but rather transmuted into a new phenomenon of predatory inclusion.

Race for Profit uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. The same racist structures and individuals remained intact after redlining’s end, and close relationships between regulators and the industry created incentives to ignore improprieties. Meanwhile, new policies meant to encourage low-income homeownership created new methods to exploit Black homeowners. The federal government guaranteed urban mortgages in an attempt to overcome resistance to lending to Black buyers – as if unprofitability, rather than racism, was the cause of housing segregation. Bankers, investors, and real estate agents took advantage of the perverse incentives, targeting the Black women most likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure, multiplying their profits. As a result, by the end of the 1970s, the nation’s first programs to encourage Black homeownership ended with tens of thousands of foreclosures in Black communities across the country. The push to uplift Black homeownership had descended into a goldmine for realtors and mortgage lenders, and a ready-made cudgel for the champions of deregulation to wield against government intervention of any kind.

Narrating the story of a sea-change in housing policy and its dire impact on African Americans, Race for Profit reveals how the urban core was transformed into a new frontier of cynical extraction.

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Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture
Grace Elizabeth Hale

On Edelweiss
Athens, Georgia, and the promise of alternative culture in Reagan’s America.

In the summer of 1978, the B-52’s conquered the New York underground. A year later, the band’s self-titled debut album burst onto the Billboard charts, capturing the imagination of fans and music critics worldwide. The fact that the group had formed in the sleepy southern college town of Athens, Georgia, only increased the fascination. Soon, more Athens bands followed the B-52’s into the vanguard of the new American music that would come to be known as “alternative,” including R.E.M., who catapulted over the course of the 1980s to the top of the musical mainstream. As acts like the B-52’s, R.E.M., and Pylon drew the eyes of New York tastemakers southward, they discovered in Athens an unexpected mecca of music, experimental art, DIY spirit, and progressive politics–a creative underground as vibrant as any to be found in the country’s major cities.

In Athens in the eighties, if you were young and willing to live without much money, anything seemed possible. Cool Town reveals the passion, vitality, and enduring significance of a bohemian scene that became a model for others to follow. Grace Elizabeth Hale experienced the Athens scene as a student, small-business owner, and band member. Blending personal recollection with a historian’s eye, she reconstructs the networks of bands, artists, and friends that drew on the things at hand to make a new art of the possible, transforming American culture along the way. In a story full of music and brimming with hope, Hale shows how an unlikely cast of characters in an unlikely place made a surprising and beautiful new world.

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From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century
William A. Darity & Kirsten Mullen

On Edelweiss
The most comprehensive case for reparations to date.

Racism and discrimination have choked economic opportunity for African Americans at nearly every turn. At several historic moments, the trajectory of racial inequality could have been altered dramatically. Perhaps no moment was more opportune than the early days of Reconstruction, when the U.S. government temporarily implemented a major redistribution of land from former slaveholders to the newly emancipated enslaved. But neither Reconstruction nor the New Deal nor the civil rights struggle led to an economically just and fair nation. Today, systematic inequality persists in the form of housing discrimination, unequal education, police brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, and massive wealth and opportunity gaps. Economic data indicates that for every dollar the average white household holds in wealth the average black household possesses a mere ten cents.

In From Here to Equality, William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen confront these injustices head-on and make the most comprehensive case to date for economic reparations for U.S. descendants of slavery. After opening the book with a stark assessment of the intergenerational effects of white supremacy on black economic well-being, Darity and Mullen look to both the past and the present to measure the inequalities borne of slavery. Using innovative methods that link monetary values to historical wrongs, they next assess the literal and figurative costs of justice denied in the 155 years since the end of the Civil War. Finally, Darity and Mullen offer a detailed roadmap for an effective reparations program, including a substantial payment to each documented U.S. black descendant of slavery. Taken individually, any one of the three eras of injustice outlined by Darity and Mullen–slavery, Jim Crow, and modern-day discrimination–makes a powerful case for black reparations. Taken collectively, they are impossible to ignore.

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