MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books hosting campus authors on Feb. 1

MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books will host a two-book reading and discussion with (from left) authors Elizabeth Gillespie McRae and Robert Ferguson, seen here with event host Chris Wilcox.

Two authors, two books and a related historical theme will take center stage at MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1.

Elizabeth Gillespie McRae, WCU associate professor of history and director of graduate social science education programs, and Robert Ferguson, WCU assistant professor of history, will read from their respective new books and discuss both the publications and related issues.

MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books, a combination eatery and bookstore located in WCU’s Noble Hall, continues a series of successful events featuring works by faculty and alumni.

“The shop regularly hosts book readings and discussions, often drawing on the wide range of authors with connections to WCU,” said Chris Wilcox, owner of City Lights Bookstore in Sylva and co-owner of MadStone, and a WCU alumnus. “We are always glad to support the community and that includes the campus community, which we’re happily a part of.”

McRae’s book “Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy” examines racial segregation from the 1920s to the 1970s, while “Remaking the Rural South: Inter-Racialism, Christian Socialism and Cooperative Farming in Jim Crow Mississippi,” by Ferguson, looks at two communities that employed strategies to break the cycle of segregation in South.

McRae said her book “explores how a certain swath of white women sustained racial segregation and white supremacist politics throughout much of the 20th century. Through the study of their activism, it became apparent that they lived and worked across the nation, and their efforts, at times, overlapped and helped shaped the rise of the New Right.”

Funded by the Center for the Study of the American South, Ferguson researched the African-American agrarian experience. “On the Delta and Providence farms in Bolivar County, Mississippi, residents developed a cooperative economy, operated a desegregated health clinic, held interracial church services and labor union meetings, and managed a credit union,” said Ferguson. “I think that ‘Remaking the Rural South’ demonstrates how these cooperative farms were far from living in a closed society, but engaging efforts with national and international roots and consequences.

“The farms I write about are examples of how history can liberate us,” he said. “At Delta and Providence farms, residents who had lived destitute, hardscrabble lives envisioned radical changes and set about achieving those changes.”

For more information, call MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books at 828-293-0741.