My new book, Southern Stalemate, is now available from the University of Chicago Press.

Here is a description:
In 1959, Virginia’s Prince Edward County closed its public schools rather than obey a court order to desegregate. For five years, black children were left to fend for themselves while the courts decided if the county could continue to deny its citizens public education. Investigating this remarkable and nearly forgotten story of local, state, and federal political confrontation, Christopher Bonastia recounts the test of wills that pitted resolute African Americans against equally steadfast white segregationists in a battle over the future of public education in America.
Beginning in 1951 when black high school students protested unequal facilities and continuing through the return of whites to public schools in the 1970s and 1980s, Bonastia describes the struggle over education during the civil rights era and the human suffering that came with it, as well as the inspiring determination of black residents to see justice served. Artfully exploring the lessons of the Prince Edward saga,Southern Stalemate unearths new insights about the evolution of modern conservatism and the politics of race in America.


And here is one of the blurbs:

“What happened in Prince Edward County in the late 1950s and early 1960s was nothing less than an American tragedy. Yet it’s long lingered on the margins of civil rights history, a footnote to the standard story of struggle and triumph. With Christopher Bonastia’s careful, enlightening, and sympathetic new study, it finally has the book it deserves.”—Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

More specifically, I examine the politics of racial inequality in historical perspective.  My first book explores the federal government’s failed attempt to foster residential desegregation in suburban areas.  My forthcoming book, which was recently published by the University of Chicago Press, examines Prince Edward County, Virginia, the only school district to close its schools for an extended period–1959 to 1964–rather than desegregate them.

I am member of the Sociology faculty at Lehman College and the CUNY Graduate Center.  In addition, I am Associate Director of the Lehman Scholars Program and Macaulay Honors College at Lehman.

My email is: