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Bryant K. Barnes

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Graduate Student
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GREAT Fellow

Bryant K. Barnes is a PhD student who studies interracial political movements in the Gilded Age US South. More specifically, he researches the connections between capitalism and the rise of Jim Crow segregation and disfranchisement. Bryant works under the direction of Scott Reynolds Nelson.

Bryant's dissertation looks at Virginia's Readjuster Party and Georgia's Populist Party to show how they put forward alternatives to both Jim Crow and corporate domination of Southern politics and economy. They envisioned a more democratic, egalitarian society characterized by "equal rights for all and special privileges for none." Both third party movements turned to the state to protect their rights and restrain corporate power and influence. Interracial political cooperation came to be seen as crucial to any successful challenge to the moneyed interests, largely embodied by railroads. Conservative elites closed the doors of biracial reform and opened the doors of Jim Crow. But the reformers' internal divisions and flawed interracialism played an equally powerful role in bringing about Jim Crow as well. The story is one of corruption and reform, violence and protection, cooperation and division. It is the story of the New South as it came to be through the eyes of those arguing for what it could be.

Bryant has published peer-reviewed articles in The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Agricultural History, and Genealogy.


Mellon-Funded Global Georgia Program Grant, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia, 2019-2020

Summer Research Travel Grant for Doctoral Students, Graduate School, University of Georgia, 2019


Selected Publications:

“‘Are Not Our Interests the Same?’: Black Protest, the Lost Cause, and Coalition Building in Readjuster Virginia,” in “Why Race Matters: The Legacies and Presentation of Race Relations in American History,” ed. Brandon T. Jett and Timothy Fritz, special issue, Genealogy 7, No. 12 (February 2023),

“Fresh Fruit and Rotten Railroads: Fruit Growers, Populism, and the Future of the New South,” Agricultural History 96, No. 1-2 (May, 2022): 54-90,

"Intimidation Was the Program: The Alleged Attempt to Lynch H. Seb Doyle, the 'Rhetoric of Corruption,' and Disfranchisement," The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 18 no. 2 (April 2019): 174-198. 


MA, University of Georgia, History, 2017

BA, Georgia Institute of Technology, Economics & International Affairs, 2014

Events featuring Bryant K. Barnes
320 LeConte Hall

Faculty and graduate students are invited to join us on Friday, December 31st at 3:30 PM to discuss the paper: Fresh Fruit and Rotten Railroads: Fruit Growers, Populism, and the Future of the New South”, with its author, Bryant Barnes, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia.…

101 LeConte Hall

This installment of the Department of History’s undergraduate lecture series features Doctoral student Bryant Barnes, who presents the question, "How did a tiny man with an upset tummy terrify southern Democrats after the Civil War?"

Barnes studies interracial political movements in the Gilded Age US South. More specifically, he researches the…

Major Professor

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