The University of Georgia Press has acquired NewSouth Books, the independent trade publisher based in Montgomery, Ala. Known for books on Southern culture and history, particularly those related to civil and human rights, NewSouth was launched in 2000 by Suzanne La Rosa, who serves as publisher, and Randall Williams, who is NewSouth's editor-in-chief.
La Rosa, who said "NewSouth is proud to align itself with such a distinguished press" that will "enhance our visibility and expand our reach," will join the staff at UGA Press, where NewSouth will become an imprint, on July 1, publishing 8-12 titles annually. (The press previously published 20-25 books annually, but that amount will be reduced as an imprint of UGA Press.) Williams will recommend books for acquisition and edit certain titles, but not officially join UGA Press staff.
"NewSouth Books has always punched above its weight in representing the culturally complex and socially significant Deep South to the world," Lisa Bayer, director of UGA Press, said in a statement. "We are thrilled to honor Randall and Suzanne’s work by becoming the new publishing home for these award-winning, critically important books and are delighted to continue the imprint as part of UGA Press."
NewSouth’s backlist includes some than 400 nonfiction titles with a focus on Southern history and politics, African American history and culture, civil rights, education, and folklore, and include biographies, memoirs, and essay collections in addition to historical nonfiction. Titles include American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World by Christina Proenza-Coles; The Southernization of America: A Story of Democracy in the Balance by Frye Gaillard and Cynthia Tucker; In the Name of Emmett Till: How the Children of the Mississippi Freedom Struggle Showed Us Tomorrow by Robert H. Mayer; and The Tuskegee Airmen, An Illustrated History: 1939-1949 by Joseph Caver, Jerome Ennels, and Daniel Haulman.
NewSouth made headlines a decade ago when it published a combined edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer which, for the first time, excised its use of specific derogatory terms for Black people and Native Americans. The choice was the subject of controversy at the time, but eventually saw use in schoolrooms across the country that were dealing with book bans on the original versions.
UGA received funding for the acquisition from a number of private donors and the Wormsloe Foundation, in addition to support from the UGA Press Advisory Council. The Fisher Company represented NewSouth Books in the transaction.
This article has been updated with further information.