Research Project Social Justice Organizing (2009)

Excerpt from Introduction:

Today, there is an important national debate underway about the South. Political strategists, grassroots organizers, funders and others concerned about issues of social justice are grappling with critical questions: What are prospects for change in the South? Is it worth investing time, energy and resources in the region? Can historic obstacles be overcome and momentum shifted to move a social justice agenda in the South? To address these questions, the Institute for Southern Studies, in partnership with the Hill Snowdon Foundation and New World Foundation, undertook an 18-month investigation into the political, economic and social landscape in the South and the state of social justice organizing in the region.

The U.S. South is both rapidly changing in ways favorable to social justice organizing and growing in national importance.

Focusing on six Southern states—Alabama,Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina— the Southern Scan Research Project came to two broad conclusions. First, the U.S. South is both rapidly changing in ways favorable to social justice organizing and growing in national importance, making the South an increasingly important region. Second, the South faces a unique set of challenges and obstacles that must be addressed if efforts to advance social justice in the region are to be successful. Specifically, the Southern Scan Research Project found that...


  • 2 Executive Summary
  • 4 Introduction: A New Moment for Southern Organizing
  • 5 I. The Importance of the South to a National Organizing Strategy
  • 9 II. Key Issues, Trends and Themes in Southern Organizing
  • 17 III. A Southern Strategy for Social Justice Organizing
  • 20 IV. Conclusion: Seizing the Moment in the South
  • 22 Post-Script: The 2008 Elections and the South
  • 25 Appendix I — State Profiles
  • 37 Appendix II — Research Scope, Methodology and Participants
  • 40 Appendix III — Key Informant and Organizational Interviews
  • 43 Endnotes

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