Photo by Cass Bradley
Karen L. Cox is an award-winning historian and a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.  She is the author of four books, editor or co-editor of two collections of essays on the South, and has written numerous essays and articles on the subject of southern history and culture. Her books include Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture, which won the 2004 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians for the Best Book in Southern Women’s History and was reissued in 2019 with a new preface. She’s also the author of Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture, and Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South.


Her most recent book No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice will be published by UNC Press (a Ferris & Ferris Imprint) in April 2021. It examines the long history of Confederate monuments from those first built after the Civil War to the protests against them in the summer of 2020.

A successful public intellectual, she has written op-eds for the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, TIME, Publishers Weekly, and the Huffington Post. Her expertise on southern history and culture has led to numerous newspaper, radio, and television interviews with media outlets from around the world. She appeared in Lucy Worsley’s BBC Production of American History’s Biggest Fibs and the PBS documentary Reconstruction: America after the Civil War, produced by Henry Louis Gates.

Cox is originally from Huntington, West Virginia, a small city in the southwestern part of the state adjacent to Kentucky and Ohio. She’s lived in North Carolina since the age of 12 except for stints in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Washington, D.C.  She is professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and where she has taught since 2002.