Historian; university professor. Born– July 11, 1941, Fayetteville, N.C. Parents– A. Merrill and Thelma (Melton) McLaurin. Married– Sandra Cockrell, November 23, 1961. Children– Two. Education– B.S., East Carolina University, 1962; M.A., 1964; Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1967. History instructor, University of South Alabama, 1967-1977; University of North Carolina, Wilmington, 1977-2004; Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UNCW, 1996-2003. Chair of NC Humanities Council. Member– Organization of American Historians, Southern Historical Association, North Carolina Historical Society. Awarded emeritus status at UNCW on his retirement in 2018. Received the Lillian Smith Award for Non-Fiction, for Separate Pasts, 1988, and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest award for service to the state, in 2018.


Contemporary Authors online.


Celia, a Slave. Athens, Ga.; University of Georgia Press, 1991.

The Knights of Labor in the South. Westport, Conn.; Greenwood Press, 1978.

The Marines of Montford Point: America’s First Black Marines.  University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

The North Carolina State Fair:  The First 150 Years. Office of Archives and History. N. C. Dept. of Cultural Resources, 2003.

Paternalism and Protest; Southern Cotton Mill Workers and Organized Labor, 1875-1905. Westport, Conn.; Greenwood Pub. Corp., 1971.

Separate Pasts; Growing up White in the Segregated South. Athens, Ga.; University of Georgia Press, 1987.


The Image of Progress; Alabama Photographs, 1872-1917. University, Ala.; University of Alabama Press, 1980.

Mobile; American River City. Mobile, Ala.; Easter Pub. Co., 1975.

Mobile; the Life and Times of a Great Southern City. Woodland Hills, Calif.; Windsor Publications, 1981.


You Wrote My Life:  Lyrical Themes in Country Music.  Gordon and Breach, 1992.