Frye Gaillard

Gaillard Headshot

Frye Gaillard | Former USA Writer in Residence

Specializes in Southern culture and history.


Southernization CoverThe Southernization of America: A Story of Democracy in the Balance. With Cynthia Tucker. NewSouth Books, 2022.

In 1974 John Egerton published his seminal work, The Americanization of Dixie. Pulitzer Prize-winner Cynthia Tucker and award-winning author Frye Gaillard carry Egerton’s thesis forward in The Southernization of America, a compelling series of linked essays considering the role of the South in shaping America’s current political and cultural landscape. They dive deeper, examining the morphing of the Southern strategy of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan into the Republican Party of today, the racial backlash against President Obama, family separation on our southern border, the rise of the Christian right, the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville, the death of George Floyd, and the attack on our nation’s capitol. They find hope in the South too, a legacy rooted in the civil rights years that might ultimately lead the nation on the path to redemption. Tucker and Gaillard bring a multiracial perspective and years of political reporting to bear on a critical moment in American history, a time of racial reckoning and democracy under siege.


Frye Gaillard, writer in residence at the University of South Alabama and former Southern Editor at the Charlotte Observer, is the author of more than 30 books, exploring themes of social justice and Southern music, religion, politics, and culture. His award-winning titles have ranged across the genres of history, memoir, journalism, and historical novels for young readers. Three of his books have been adapted as public television documentaries, and Gaillard has co-authored the script for two of those, including the Emmy-winning "In the Path of the Storms."

His critically praised books have included A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, an NPR Great Read of 2018 and winner of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Prize; Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed America, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award; The Dream Long Deferred: The Landmark Struggle for Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina, for which Gaillard received the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Humanitarian of the Year Award; and Watermelon Wine: The Spirit of Country Music, featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Gaillard has co-written songs that have made the U.S. folk and country music charts and appeared in nationally distributed music videos and documentary films, and his byline has appeared in such publications as The Bitter Southerner, Oxford American, The Washington Post, Sojourners, Journal of American History, Outside Magazine, The Progressive, Parade, and Alabama Heritage. Gaillard has served as writer in residence for the Honors College at Johnson C. Smith University (HBCU), and Queens University in Charlotte, NC. His other recognitions have included the Clarence Cason Award, the Eugene Current-Garcia Award, and the Alabama Governor's Award for the Arts.

Professor Gaillard offered four classes on Isabel Wilkerson's Caste (sponsored by Dauphin Way United Methodist Church), which you can access here:  (1), (2), (3), and (4).  In addition, he presented "The Future of Alabama History," a reflection on our current Black Lives Matter moment sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Auburn University.