Outside Agitator: The Civil Rights Struggle of Cleveland Sellers Jr.

"An illuminating study of both a man and a decadeslong civil rights struggle."

—Kirkus Reviews

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“With vivid details, Parker unpacks Seller's upbringing and influences, portraying the realities of segregated South Carolina and presenting an ultimately compelling read about an educator and activist. Readers of historical biography, especially related to civil rights and social justice, will enjoy this informative work.”

Library Journal, starred review

“Journalist Parker respectfully and accessibly tells the life story of civil rights activist Cleveland Sellers. A biography of a man who 'does not seek the spotlight [but] is content behind the scenes,' this is a worthy addition to the record of the civil rights movement."

Publishers Weekly

Although little known and never one to seek attention, Cleveland Sellers is one of the true heroes of the Civil Rights movement and an important pioneer during the creation and development of the teaching of Black History in American colleges and universities. Adam Parker has done an excellent job in telling his story from time in prison to president of a college. 

—Jack Bass, co-author of The Orangeburg Massacre

“Cleveland Sellers' battled body and soul to redeem the promise of American democracy, and his story stands among the most telling and important of the civil rights generation. He took a bullet for his country—not in South Vietnam but in South Carolina, his blood winning him not a Purple Heart but a prison sentence. This is a distinctive American story and Adam Parker’s stirring narrative brings it to life.”

—Timothy B. Tyson, Senior Research Scholar,
Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University,
author of The Blood of Emmett Till

“Outside Agitator is an important, timely, and significant biography of Cleveland Sellers, one of the heroically transcendent figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Adam Parker’s crucial work helps to remind us that the struggle for racial equality continued long past the 1960s in the resilience of activists and long marchers like Sellers who helped to transform America’s ongoing democratic experiment for the good of all. A must read.”

—Peniel E. Joseph, author of Stokely: A Life


About The Author

Adam Parker earned degrees in music, then spent a decade in the business world before going back to school to earn a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. He taught journalism as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston and soon landed a job at The Post and Courier. At the newspaper, he worked as a copy editor, metro editor, general assignment reporter, restaurant critic and religion reporter, arts writer and more. A long-time student of the civil rights movement and race in America, he has written extensively about the African-American experience. Outside Agitator is his first book.





4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6
S.C. State University, Fine Arts Center
Public book talk with Adam Parker and Cleveland Sellers Jr.

5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15
Blue Bicycle Books
Public book talk with Adam Parker and Cleveland Sellers Jr., followed by private reception

Noon, Tuesday, Feb. 19
USCB Center for the Arts Lunch with Author Series
Belfair Country Club, 200 Belfair Oaks Blvd., Bluffton 
Luncheon with Adam Parker 

3 p.m. Sunday, March 3
Penn Center, St. Helena's Island
Pat Conroy Literary Center's March Forth Day of Learning
Public book talk with Adam Parker and Cleveland Sellers Jr. 


October 13
Southern Festival of Books | Nashville TN
(Re) Framing the Movement: Two Stories of Inside and Outside the Fight for Civil Rights
10 AM - 11 AM | NPL Conference Room 1B

October 14
Mount Zion AME | Charleston SC
10 AM

October 18
Charleston Library Society | Charleston SC
6 PM
with Dr. Cleveland Sellers Jr

November 1
Spartanburg Public Library | Spartanburg SC
6 PM VIP Reception | 7PM Free Event
with Dr. Cleveland Sellers Jr

November 7
USC Center for Civil Rights History | Columbia SC
6 PM

December 7
Blue Bicycle Books | Charleston SC
Author Luncheon
12 PM

December 11
Grace Church | Charleston SC
Book Talk
5:30 PM