David T. Beito (born 1956) is a historian and professor of history at the University of Alabama. He is the author of Taxpayers in Revolt: Tax Resistance during the Great Depression (1989); From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967 (2000); The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society (2002); and T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer (2018) which was co-authored by Professor Linda Royster Beito of Stillman College). It is a biography of civil rights leader, surgeon, entrepreneur and self-help advocate, T. R. M. Howard, who was a mentor to Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer, and was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Harper's Magazine, and other publications.
Beito is the founder and one of the key contributors to the group weblog Liberty and Power, which is located at the History News Network. He manages the Facebook group for classical liberal and libertarian historians, Cliolibertarian.
Beito was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received a B.A. in history from the University of Minnesota in 1980 and a Ph.D in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986. Since 1994, he has taught at the University of Alabama, where he is a professor in history. He married Linda Royster Beito on June 11, 1997 and they live in Northport, Alabama.
Beito's research covers a wide range of topics in American history including race, tax revolts, the private provision of infrastructure, mutual aid, and the political philosophies of Zora Neale Hurston, Rose Wilder Lane, and Isabel Paterson.
Beito has published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Journal of Policy History, Journal of Southern History, and Journal of Urban History among other scholarly journals. He has received fellowships from the Earhart Foundation, the Olin Foundation, and the Institute for Humane Studies.
He writes frequently on current controversies related to academic freedom and academic standards including the speech code issue, the Academic Bill of Rights, grade inflation. He is a former president of the Alabama Scholars Association. In February 2007, Beito was appointed to chair the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In April, 2008, the Committee had an open meeting at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham which focused on eminent domain as a possible civil rights issue. It followed this up with another open meeting in April 2009 in Montgomery. Witnesses alleged that the city of Montgomery has arbitrarily used "eminent domain through the back door" (via selective use of nuisance and blight laws) to demolish buildings owned by minorities and the poor. These allegations generated stories by ABC News, Fox News, and other outlets.
- Taxpayers in Revolt: Tax Resistance during the Great Depression, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill), 1989.
- From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, University of North Carolina Press (Cambridge), 1992.
- T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer (Oakland: Independent Institute), 2018. ISBN 978-1-59813-312-7
- The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society, University of Michigan Press for The Independent Institute (Ann Arbor), 2002.
Selected articles and chapters in collections
- Selling Laissez-faire Anti-Racism to the Black Masses" Rose Wilder Lane and the Pittsburgh Courier. Independent Review 15. (Fall 2010), 279-294.
- Let Down Your Bucket Where You Are':The Afro-American Hospital and Black Health Care in Mississippi, 1924-1966, Social Science History 30 (Winter 2006), 551-69.
- Blacks, Gun Cultures and Gun Control: T. R. M. Howard, Armed Self Defense, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, The Journal of Firearms and Public Policy (September 2005).
- Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Zora Neale Hurston on War, Race, the State, and Liberty,, Independent Review 12 (Spring 2008).
- T. R. M. Howard: Pragmatism over Strict Integrationist Ideology in the Mississippi Delta, 1942-1954, Glenn Feldman, ed., Before Brown: Civil Rights and White Backlash in the Modern South, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa), 2004.
- T. R. M. Howard: A Mississippi Doctor in Chicago Civil Rights, A.M.E. Church Review (July-September 2001), 51-59.
- "Rival Road Builders: Private Toll Roads in Nevada, 1852-1880," Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 41 (Summer 1998), 71-91.
- "From Privies to Boulevards: The Private Supply of Infrastructure in the United States during the Nineteenth Century" in Jerry Jenkins and David Sisk, eds., Development by Consent: The Voluntary Supply of Public Goods and Services, San Francisco: ICS Press, 1993, 23-48.
- The Formation of Urban Infrastructure through Non-Governmental Planning: The Private Places of St. Louis, 1869-1920, Journal of Urban History 16 (May 1990), 263-301.
- "Gold Democrats and the Decline of Classical Liberalism, 1896-1900," Independent Review 4 (Spring 2000), 555-75.
- "The Christian Conservative Who Opposed the Vietnam War" History News Network, August 21, 2006.
- Why It's Unlikely the Emmett Till Murder Will Ever Be Solved, History News Network
- Why the '60 Minutes' Story on Emmett Till Was a Disappointment, History News Network, May 6, 2005.
- The Grim and Overlooked Anniversary of the Murder of the Rev. George W. Lee, Civil Rights Activist History News Network, May 6, 2005.
- The AHA's Double Standard on Academic Freedom (with Ralph E. Luker, and Robert K. C. Johnson)Perspectives, March 2006.
Reviews of Beito's work and interviews
- Mark Bauerlin, "Demanding Rights, Courting Controversy: A Flamboyant Civil-Rights Leader - Doctor, Orator, Activist-Finally Gets His Due", Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2009.
- "Six Questions for David Beito, Author of Black Maverick", by Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine, June 11, 2009.