Shelf Life

Politics, peaceful retreats and race in American history

Compiled from promotional notes

Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court

By Vernon Burton ’69 and Armand Derfner

(University of California Press)

The court is no mere bystander in U.S. history; it is an active participant, and the impact of its decisions is felt for generations. Americans typically think of the Supreme Court of the United States as the guardian of liberty. It is the institution that ended segregation, that guarantees fair trials and protects free speech and the right to vote. But the reality is more complicated. Supreme Court decisions have also played a major role in reinforcing the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Ultimately, the book speaks to the future. Especially at a time when so many Americans are motivated to face and improve race relations, the role of the Supreme Court in bringing us to this point is of central importance and universal interest. Burton is the Judge Matthew J. Perry Distinguished Chair of History and a professor of sociology, anthropology, computer science and pan-African studies at Clemson University.

Round About Greenville and the Carolina Blue Ridge


By Pam Burgess Shucker ’69

(Four Colour Print Group)

Alive with meditative moments and raw beauty, “Round About Greenville and the Carolina Blue Ridge” recommends nature as a sanctuary and source of physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. “Yeah, THAT Greenville,” South Carolina, is recognized as being one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. But the Greenville area also offers a multitude of opportunities for peaceful retreat from the hectic pace of progress into the beauty of the natural world.

After hiking thousands of miles through the Carolina Blue Ridge mountains, author Pam Shucker and nature photographer Bill Robertson blend their visions and voices to share their passion for Greenville’s natural environs. They have interwoven descriptions of these relaxing and restorative sites through the photos and essays the places inspired. Lists of many of the area’s natural highlights, along with addresses and a map, are included in the appendix.

Shucker was an English major at Furman who created and taught the Microscope Summer Camp, which was part of the Kaleidoscope Summer Program until the pandemic. She teaches in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman and will be part of the 2022 Homecoming “Authors at Furman” program.

The Families’ Civil War Black Soldiers and the Fight for Racial Justice



By Holly A. Pinheiro Jr.

(University of Georgia Press)

This book tells the stories of freeborn northern African Americans in Philadelphia struggling to maintain families while fighting against racial discrimination. Taking a long view, from 1850 to the 1920s, Holly A. Pinheiro Jr. shows how Civil War military service worsened already difficult circumstances due to its negative effects on family finances, living situations, minds and bodies. At least 79,000 African Americans served in northern United States Colored Troops (USCT) regiments. Many, including most of the USCT veterans examined here, remained in the North and constituted a sizable population of racial minorities living outside the former Confederacy.

Pinheiro provides a compelling account of the lives of USCT soldiers and their entire families but also argues that the Civil War was but one engagement in a longer war for racial justice. By 1863, the Civil War provided African American Philadelphians with the ability to expand the theater of war beyond their metropolitan and racially oppressive city into the South to defeat Confederates and end slavery as armed combatants. But the war at home waged by white Northerners never ended.

Pinheiro examines the intersections of gender, race, class and region to fully illuminate the experiences of northern USCT soldiers and their families. An assistant professor in history, Pinheiro joined the Furman faculty in 2021.

Deadly Division


By Nathaniel Sizemore ’08

(Bdi Publishers)

David Stoneman was a rising star at one of Washington, D.C.’s most prestigious law firms until the firm’s conniving managing partner, Gregory Thomas III, abruptly derailed his plans. Thereafter, David encounters Sarah Mercer, a single mother who lost her son and wants justice. To help Sarah and redeem his tarnished reputation, David unwittingly uncovers a government secret buried by Senator Stephen Smythe, a ruthless politician who will stop at nothing to protect his new legislation, the Division Act. Allying with a desperate Southern Baptist minister, David and Sarah find themselves in a tumultuous legal battle that turns into a fight for their lives. The clock is ticking, and David must outsmart his former boss, outmaneuver a team of highly trained killers and outlast a senator.

Sizemore was a political science major at Furman and a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School. After practicing at a large law firm in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, he returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, to work in his family’s business. He lives in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, with his wife and two daughters.


Top Photo: Vernon Burton ’69

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