Brian Ward teaches southern, African American, and cultural history at the Northumbria University. His publications include A&R Pioneers: Architects of American Roots Music on Record (2018); Martin Luther King in Newcastle upon Tyne: The African American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England (2017); The 1960s: A Documentary Reader (2009); Radio and the Struggle for Civil Rights in the South (2004), which was selected by the American Library Association as a Choice outstanding academic title and won the best history book award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication; and Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness, and Race Relations (1998), which won the OAH James A. Rawley Prize and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He is currently working on two books: one about sickness and health in southern music, the other about The Beatles and the U.S. South.
This lecture considers the special relationship the Beatles had with the US South, from even before their first visit to the region in 1964, through their career as the biggest musical act on the planet, to their post-Beatles solo careers. That relationship has much to reveal about the changing nature of the region in the 1960s, but also about how the U.S. South has been understood and misunderstood by those living far beyond its borders.