Neil R. McMillen

Professor Emeritus

Neil R. McMillen, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Southern Mississippi, received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1969 (under the direction of Dewey W. Grantham).  He earlier graduated with his BA and MA in History from the University of Southern Mississippi.  Before coming back to Southern Miss to teach in 1969, he taught at Vanderbilt, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Ball State University in Indiana. In recognition of his teaching excellence and notable scholarly publications, Dr. McMillen was one of the first professors appointed the Charles M. Moorman Distinguished Alumni Professor of the Humanities at the University of Southern Mississippi.

One of the nation’s preeminent scholars of the New South, McMillen wrote four books, includingDark Journey: Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow Reconstruction (University of Illinois Press, 1989), which won the Bancroft Prize in 1990, as well as the Gustavus Myers and McLemore book prizes. Dark Journey also was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  McMillen also wrote The Citizens’ Council: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction (University of Illinois Press, 1971), A Synopsis of American History (with various co-authors), and Thomas Jefferson: Philosopher of Freedom (Rand McNally, 1973).  He also edited the volume Remaking Dixie: World War II and the American South (University Press of Mississippi, 1997).  In addition, McMillen wrote numerous book chapters, reviews, and articles over the course of his career, in such prestigious journals as The American Historical Review, the Journal of American HistoryChoiceThe Journal of Southern History, and the Southern Quarterly.   McMillen has also been a consultant for several documentary films and served as an expert witness on civil rights for the U.S. Department of Justice. 

For his work on the history of the South and Mississippi in particular, Dr. McMillen was awarded the Mississippi Historical Society’s highest honor, the B.L.C. Wailes Award for national distinction in the field of history in 2005.  McMillen was also the winner of the 2006 Mississippi History NOW award for the best article published on the Mississippi History NOW Web site in the previous year.

Dr. McMillen currently resides in Hattiesburg and spends his summers in his native Michigan.