About Our Guest

Paul M. Gaston, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Virginia, specializes in history of the United States South as well as American Civil Rights. A former President of the Southern Regional Council, he was well known in the area during the 1960s for his Civil Rights activism.

Born in Fairhope, Alabama, Paul Gaston arrived in Charlottesville in the fall of 1957 as a junior instructor of history at UVA. During his time in Charlottesville, Gaston became heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement and local race relations. He was involved in several demonstrations, most famously the 1963 sit-ins at Buddy’s Restaurant, which is remembered as one of the pivotal events leading to the desegregation of the Charlottesville area.

Gaston has published several books and articles on Civil Rights and Affirmative Action, as well as the history of the United States South.

Program Transcript

JAN PAYNTER: Hello, I am Jan Paynter and I want to welcome you again to our program, Politics Matters. We are very pleased to continue our discussion with Professor Paul Gaston, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Virginia. Welcome back, Professor.

PAUL GASTON: Well, it is my honor to be here.

JAN PAYNTER: Professor, why did you decide to teach history at a southern university. I know you had the opportunity to—you had the offer to go to Princeton as well and back to Swarthmore. What factored in your decision?

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