David Garrow

David Garrow

David J. Garrow (born 11 May 1953 in New Bedford, Massachusetts) is an American historian and author of the book Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. He is also the author of Liberty and Sexuality, a history of the legal struggles over reproductive rights in the U.S. prior to the Roe v. Wade decision. Garrow writes frequently on the history of the United States Supreme Court and the history of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and regularly contributes articles on these subjects to non-academic publications such as the New York Times, The Nation, The Financial Times, and The New Republic.

Garrow served as a senior adviser for Eyes on the Prize, the award-winning PBS television history of the African-American Civil Rights Movement covering the years of 1954 to 1965. He has taught at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the City University of New York, The Cooper Union (where in 1992-1993 he served as Visiting Distinguished Professor of History), the College of William and Mary (where in 1994-1995 he served as Harrison Professor of History), American University (where in 1995-96 he served as Distinguished Historian in Residence), Emory University (where from 1997 until 2005 he was Presidential Distinguished Professor). Since 2011 he has served as Research Professor of History and Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

He graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1975, received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1981, and is a Fellow of Homerton College at the University of Cambridge.

Selected works

  • Protest at Selma (Yale University Press, 1978)
  • The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Norton, 1981)
  • Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Morrow, 1986; HarperCollins paperback, 2004)
  • We Shall Overcome (as editor, three volumes of an 18-volume set, Carlson Pub., 1989)
  • Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade (Macmillan, 1994; updated paperback edition, University of California Press, 1998)


  • David Garrow at Homerton College, Cambridge link broken as of 21.01.2014