Gregory Mixon, professor of history, recently received the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council Award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of Archives. He was honored for the book, “Show Thyself a Man: Georgia State Troops, Colored, 1865-1905.”
The book explores the ways in which African Americans in postbellum Georgia used militia service after the Civil War to define freedom and citizenship. Independent militias empowered African Americans to get involved in politics, secure their own financial independence and mobilize for self-defense.
“Black people had a vision for freedom after the Civil War. They had a vision of what citizenship should be and that vision conflicted with white definitions of post-Civil War freedom and citizenship,” Mixon explained. State-sponsored militia companies served between 1872 and 1905 as an officially recognized division of state government, and both whites and blacks organized militia units at the county level to use as an instrument to dominate local governance, he added.
Mixon received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cincinnati. His research focuses on race relations; Southern history; black, Southern and United States urban history; progressive era; and black Southern state militia companies from 1865 to 1910.
The Georgia Archives is a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and identifies, collects, manages, preserves, provides access to and publicizes records and information of Georgia and its people and assists state and local government agencies with their records management. The Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council works to promote the educational use of Georgia’s documentary heritage and to support efforts to improve the condition of records statewide.
Photo: Tristan Denley, chief academic officer and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs, University System of Georgia; Gregory Mixon; and Toby Graham, chair, Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council.