Author: jratliff

Summersell Center to Host Tera Hunter on January 25


Dr. Tera Hunter, Edwards Professor of American History and Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, will deliver a public lecture on African America marriage in slavery and freedom on January 25, at 4:30 PM, in 30 ten Hoor Hall.

Hunter’s Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017) won the Fourth Biennial Deep South Book Prize from the Summersell Center for the Study of the South.

According to the Belknap Press, “Bound in Wedlock is the first comprehensive history of African American marriage in the nineteenth century. Uncovering the experiences of African American spouses in plantation records, legal and court documents, and pension files, Hunter reveals the myriad ways couples adopted, adapted, revised, and rejected white Christian ideas of marriage. Setting their own standards for conjugal relationships, enslaved husbands and wives were creative and, of necessity, practical in starting and supporting families under conditions of uncertainty and cruelty.

“After emancipation, white racism continued to menace black marriages. Laws passed during Reconstruction, ostensibly to secure the civil rights of newly freed African American citizens, were often coercive and repressive. Informal antebellum traditions of marriage were criminalized, and the new legal regime became a convenient tool for plantation owners to discipline agricultural workers. Recognition of the right of African Americans to enter into wedlock on terms equal to whites would remain a struggle into the Jim Crow era, and its legacy would resonate well into the twentieth century.”

Summersell Center Sponsors Undergraduate Attendance at SHA Conference

Giggie and students
Dr. John Giggie, Margaret Lawson, Isabella Garrison, and Emma Pepperman


The Summersell Center and Director Dr. John Giggie sponsored the attendance of four undergraduate students – Margaret Lawson, Isabella Garrison, Emma Pepperman, and Morgan Alexander (not pictured) – at the Southern Historical Association‘s 2018 Conference in Birmingham, Alabama this past month. The SHA is a major conference on historical research into the American South.

The students, who are all planning on pursuing graduate study after graduation, were able to meet and network with graduate students, historians, editors, and The University of Alabama alumni. The Summersell Center put the students up for two days in Birmingham and paid their membership fees.

Students Visit Equal Justice Initiative

Dr. John Giggie and the students in his Alabama Memory: Lynching in Alabama class recently visited the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. There they presented the research they have done so far in the class. They also visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and EJI’s new museum, The Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration.

Students and Giggie outside the EJI offices.
Dr. Giggie and students at the Equal Justice Initiative offices in Montgomery.


Soil from lynching sites.
Soil from lynching sites students have studied.


panels from the national lynching memorial
Hanging tablets at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Short-term Travel Fellowships for 2018-2019 Announced

Drs. Kathleen Hilliard & Sarah Gardner

The Summersell Center for the Study of the South and the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library of The University of Alabama are pleased to announce the recipients of short-term travel fellowships for 2018-2019. The winners are Dr. Sarah Gardner of Mercer University, who will be conducting research for her book, “A New Glass to See All Our Old Things Through”: Reading During the American Civil War, and Dr. Kathleen Hilliard of Iowa State University, who will be researching for her next project, Bonds Burst Asunder: The Revolutionary Politics of Getting By in Civil War and Emancipation, 1860-1867. The winners will travel to the Hoole Library during the course of the next year and use its holdings as part of a book project or a dissertation.

Student Group Attends National Lynching Memorial Unveiling

Dr. Giggie and a group of students attended the recent opening of a national lynching memorial in Montgomery. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice was founded by the Equal Justice Initiative on April 26th, 2018, in the heart of Alabama’s capital. While attending the unveiling ceremonies, Dr. Giggie and his students were able to meet Rev. C. T. Vivian, a minister deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement who worked alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Additionally, the group also met  Alabama Senator Doug Jones. Following the ceremony, they then visited the memorial. Dr. Giggie and his students were grateful to be a part of such a momentous occasion and to have contributed to the recent research into and dialogue about this period of our nation’s history.

Margaret Lawson, Libby Hufham, Maruka Walker

Morgan Alexander, Emma Pepperman, Rev. John Alexander

Malcolm Cammeron and Dante Whittaker. Grad students

Margaret Lawson, Emma Pepperman, Rev. C. T. Vivian, Maruka Walker

Morgan Alexander, Sen. Doug Jones, Louise Jones, Emma Pepperman

PhD Candidate Melissa Young Awarded the 2018-2019 Rabbi Joachim Prinz Memorial Fellowship

Melissa Young's profile imagePhD Candidate Melissa Young has recently been awarded the 2018-2019 Rabbi Joachim Prinz Memorial Fellowship. As part of her fellowship, Melissa will spend a month at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio. She will conduct research for a chapter of her dissertation and share her work as part of an open AJA seminar in the summer.

American Jewish Archives LogoMelissa’s dissertation focuses on the important role Birmingham’s Jews played in the city’s development from 1871-1950. It highlights how they carved a space for their community by continually remaking their reputation in relation to fluid southern tropes. This allowed them to reject prevalent stereotypes, promote a strong Jewish identity, and respond rapidly to global crises associated with increased nativism, the Great Depression, and the Holocaust.  

When Melissa travels to Cincinnati, she will connect Birmingham Jews’ language and behavior to Jewish communities who used similar strategies in Atlanta, Memphis, and Nashville. She is excited about her research and can’t wait to see what she will discover!

Brie Smiley Accepted into Prestigious Research Apprenticeship

Photo of Brie SmileyThe Summersell Center is proud to announce that undergraduate Brie Smiley has been accepted into the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (MURAP) at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

MURAP is a program that targets underrepresented and minority undergraduate students who are interested in careers in academia. The program chooses twenty rising juniors and seniors every year, focusing on humanities students, to attend a ten week intensive research program. The application process is rigorous, but because of Brie’s research background through programs within the Summersell Center, including the recent course on Pickens County lynchings with SCSS Director Dr. John Giggie she was well prepared not only for her application, but also for this opportunity.

Brie plans to research slave revolts, potentially in the U.S. as well as Latin America and the continental interior of Africa. She hopes to be a professor of either Africana Studies or history with a specialization in Africana. We are so proud of Brie, and we can’t wait to see her research through MURAP and beyond!

SCSS PHI Interns Kisha Emmanuel and Charles Thomason explore the Jennie B. Scott Family Papers

The Summersell Center for Southern History’s Public History Initiative partners students with on-campus and local organizations, such as the Gorgas House, W.H. Hoole Special Collections Library, and local churches and clubs, to conduct research and create projects that communicate their history to the public.

This semester, Kisha Emmanuel and Charles Thomason, are interning at Hoole Special Collections Library here on The University of Alabama’s campus. They have the following to say about their experiences so far:

Kisha Emmanuel

Newspaper clipping discussing the fact that race has nothing to do with nursing ability.For this internship, we are primarily working with the Jennie B. Scott Family Papers which are housed in the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library. This collection contains an impressively consistent set of journals maintained by Mrs.Scott and various scrapbooks, books, and photos. Furthermore, there are materials from her sister, Rosa Lee, with whom she lived in Tuskegee after they were both widowed, and from her daughter Ruth. Mrs. Scott was a retired African-American teacher living in the South from the late-19th century through the mid-1960s. Her collection gives insight into middle-class African-American life and culture in the Jim Crow era. We have been tasked with exploring this collection and finding an aspect of it which we wish to highlight within an exhibit of our creation. Throughout our research, we noticed how her life, and the life of those around her, was shaped profoundly during the 1918 influenza pandemic. As a result, we have decided to focus on healthcare disparities in the African-American community during the Jim Crow era.

Charles Thomason

This semester I have been working at Hoole Special Collections with a team doing research on the Jennie B. Scott Family Papers, which includes items from an African-American Alabama family from the late-18th century to the mid-1960s. I’ve found looking at her diary entries to be particularly interesting because she wrote prolifically on a daily basis throughout her life and often on similar themes. You can compare what she found important during her early life with that of her later life. Later this semester our team will be using these sources to put together a display highlighting a particular facet of the Jim Crow South.

SCSS PHI Intern Lindsey Glick Explores the Role of Female Athletes at the Capstone

The Summersell Center for the Study of the South’s Public History Initiative partners students with on-campus and local organizations, such as the Gorgas House, W.H. Hoole Special Collections Library, and local churches and clubs, to conduct research and create projects that communicate their history to the public.

This semester, Lindsey Glick, one of the Department of History’s undergraduate majors, is interning at the Gorgas House, here on The University of Alabama’s campus, and had the following to say about her experience so far:

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Women’s admission at the University of Alabama. The admittance of women marked an important shift in the University’s history and its culture. The Gorgas House is in the midst of preparing an exhibition that commemorates and celebrates the impact of women on the University. Through an internship at the Gorgas House this semester I have been researching women’s sports at the University of Alabama and its role on campus from a historical perspective to be included in the exhibition. To research women’s sports at the University of Alabama I first began by looking at multiple sources from the Bryant Museum. Next, I examined a thesis written by a past graduate student addressing the integration of SEC sports to garner an understanding of the impact of integration on women’s athletics at the University. Finally, I have scoured online sources to locate photos and videos of past and present University of Alabama female athletes. Later this semester, we will be working on getting interviews with current and possibly past female athletes and coaches who have had a profound influence on women’s sports at the University. Through this research we will create an exhibit as well as a digital exhibit dedicated to the historical significance of women’s athletics at the University, which will be displayed in Gorgas House in conjunction with the exhibition of the effects of Women on campus in general. The exhibition, including my exhibit on women’s athletics, will be open to the public. On a personal note, this experience so far has been extremely beneficial and enjoyable, allowing me to gain an understanding of what type of work is done as a public historian. This internship has strengthened my love for history, provided valuable experience with conducting in depth research, and peaked my interest in trying my hand at being a public historian.

Lillie Leatherwood, 3rd from right; UA President Joab Thomas, right.

Graduate Student Caroline Gray Interns at the Gorgas House

The Summersell Center for Southern History’s Public History Initiative partners students with on-campus and local organizations, such as the Gorgas House, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, and local churches and clubs, to conduct research and create projects that communicate their history to the public.

Left to right: Edna Miller-Gardner, Brenda McCampbell Lyons, Vivian Malone Jones, Autherine Lucy Foster, and Terry Points Boney

This semester, Caroline Gray, one of the Department of History’s MA students, is interning at the Gorgas House here on The University of Alabama’s campus. She has had the following to say about her experience so far:


“I am currently researching the history of African American women at The University of Alabama as a part of the upcoming Women at the Capstone Exhibit. As we remember 125 years of female enrollment at the university, it is important to remember the women who have long had a presence at UA, but have only recently enrolled as students. My primary research so far has focused on the last sixty years, examining the long process of integration from Autherine Lucy to sorority integration in 2013. One of the most useful documents I have come across is Dr. Samory Pruitt’s extensive dissertation that contains interviews of notable African American students, including Autherine Lucy, Vivian Malone, Edna Miller-Gardner, Terry Points, and Brenda McCampbell. These interviews are incredibly useful for this project because they bring these women to life, offering a glimpse not only of their experiences, but also their personalities. I am looking forward to getting to know these and other remarkable women as I continue to research this semester.”