Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
DianeMcWhorter
2011–2012
Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow
Independent Scholar (United States)
Journalism
Moon of Alabama: From Nazi Germany to Tranquility Base, via the Segregated American South

Diane McWhorter is a writer of narrative nonfiction based in New York City. Her first book, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 2001), chronicled the civil rights revolution—and her family’s role on the wrong side of it—in her hometown. She is also the author of A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 (Scholastic, 2004), a young adult book.

The book she will work on at the Institute follows Wernher von Braun and the engineers of Hitler’s unprecedented V-2 ballistic missile from the Third Reich to post–World War II Alabama, where they built the rocket that put the first man on the moon. They achieved this in a segregated southern backwater where Hitler’s master race theories had found vivid expression in the United States.

McWhorter, a graduate of Wellesley College, was a longtime contributor to the New York Times and is on the USA Today board of contributors. Her articles have appeared in the American Scholar, Boston magazine (where she was managing editor), Harper’s Magazine, Legal Affairs, the Nation, Slate, and Smithsonian magazine. She is a member of the Society of American Historians and has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. Carry Me Home won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize, among other awards, and A Dream of Freedom was on several “best books” lists.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.