British Association for American Studies


Kate Ballantyne

Kate Ballantyne is an associate tutor at the University of Leicester and a postgraduate secretary for Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS). Her research focuses on race and power in the twentieth century United States. Her doctoral research (Cambridge, 2017) examined student activism in Tennessee. She is on Twitter at @kate_ballantyne.

The Southern Student Organizing Committee and the White New Left

The New Left, traditionally defined, involved white students from middle-class backgrounds in northeastern and West Coast hotbeds protesting societal constructs in the 1960s. Most accounts detail foundational connections between white New Leftists and earlier civil rights protest, such as Freedom Summer and the University of California – Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement in 1964, when project participants came back to campus in the fall after grassroots organising in Mississippi. Considering the largely overlooked white southern radicals complicates this bi-coastal narrative. The emergence of the southern New Left is especially apparent in the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC), often viewed as the Students for a Democratic Society’s (SDS) southern counterpart.