The Ralph Bunche Award is given annually for the best scholarly work in
Megan Ming Francis’ Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State makes a theoretically and empirically rich contribution to the fields of American political development, interest group politics, and race and ethnic politics. Francis shifts the field from viewing state development only as a function of the actions of presidents and major events such as the Cold War or social movements. Instead she finds that the NAACP’s anti-lynching campaign in the early 20th century was instrumental in expanding state capacity by substantially increasing the power of the federal courts in criminal proceedings relating to lynchings and mob violence against blacks. Additionally, her book firmly establishes that the foundation for state involvement in civil rights was developed well before the passage of the 1960s landmark civil rights legislation.
Award Committee: Michael D. Minta, University of Missouri, Columbia; Laurie Balfour, University of Virginia; and Rene Rocha, University of Iowa
Recipient: Megan Ming Francis, University of Washington
Title: Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State, Cambridge University Press.