Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, where he has taught since 1980. A specialist in the political, social, environmental, and civil rights history of the American South, he has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, the University of Chicago, the Florida State University Study Abroad Center in London, and the Universite d'Angers, in France, where he was a Fulbright Lecturer in 1984-85. A native of Cape Cod, he was educated at Princeton University and Brandeis University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1981. He served as Associate Director of the Fulbright Commission Summer Institute in American Studies from 1980 to 1988, and he has lectured on American history and culture in a number of countries, including France, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Tunisia, and Jordan.
Arsenault is the author or editor of eight books, including The Wild Ass of the Ozarks: Jeff Davis and the Social Bases of Southern Politics (1984); Crucible of Liberty: 200 Years of the Bill of Rights (1991); The Changing South of Gene Patterson: Journalism and Civil Rights, 1960-1968 (2002), co-edited with Roy Peter Clark; Paradise Lost? The Environmental History of Florida (2006), co-edited with Jack E. Davis; Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (2006); and The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America (2009). His most recent book, co-edited with Orville Vernon Burton, is Dixie Redux: Essays in Honor of Sheldon Hackney (2013). Freedom Riders, published by Oxford University Press, was awarded the 2007 Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Prize of the Southern Historical Association, as the most important book published in the field of Southern history in 2006. The abridged version of Freedom Riders, published in 2011, is the companion volume to the acclaimed American Experience documentary film Freedom Riders, which won three Emmys and a George Peabody Award. His latest book, Arthur Ashe: A Life, was just published by Simon & Schuster.