Students in Dr. Giggie’s HY 400 – Southern Memory: Lynching in Alabama course visited the Equal Justice Institute in Montgomery, Alabama on October 18th as part of their work to better understand and encourage awareness of racial violence during the post-Reconstruction era in Alabama.
The students, who are researching ten African-Americans lynched in Pickens County between 1883 and 1933, presented their findings to the officials at EJI. The students have been working in a variety of sources – newspapers, journals, census, wills, deeds, birth and death records – to recover the lives of the victims.
They are also building a digital humanities website meant to educate the public about these events and to serve as a database for other researchers. The students have previously worked with EJI to erect a memorial to these lynching victims in Tuscaloosa County, which was unveiled last year.
This article appeared originally on The University of Alabama’s Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility’s website.
by Erin Mosley and Jamon Smith
Dr. John Giggie describes the eras most Americans refer to as Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties as periods of racial terror for a significant portion of the country’s population. “At a time when the United States was in fact growing and prospering, many African-Americans feared for their lives,” says Giggie, associate professor of history and African American studies at The University of Alabama and director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South.
More than 4,000 black people in 12 Southern states were lynched between 1877 and 1950, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery, Ala.-based nonprofit human rights law firm whose mission includes challenging racial and economic injustice. And these are just the cases EJI has documented. At least 360 lynchings took place in Alabama, and at least 10 Tuscaloosa County men were murdered in this way.
Giggie took the Equal Justice Initiative’s baseline data on lynchings in Tuscaloosa County and asked his students to delve deeper. After exploring the history of lynching in America, students learn the research skills they need to find important documents and share them through a digital humanities website.
Fifteen UA students enrolled in HY 300/AAST 395 Southern Memory: Lynching in the South collectively spent more than 1,000 hours documenting the lives and circumstances surrounding the deaths of 10 Tuscaloosa County residents who were lynched between 1884 and 1933. They created a digital humanities website to share their findings with the public and serve as a database for lynchings in the South.
Students also worked in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative to advocate for a historical marker commemorating victims. On March 6, 2017, the marker was erected in front of the old Tuscaloosa County Jail. After the unveiling, more than 1,000 people attended a ceremony hosted by UA students, EJI representatives and community members at First African Baptist Church to honor the victims. Students Maruka Walker and Ellie Bowers were among the speakers, and discussed their research.
To continue reading this story, visit the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility’s website.
The Dixie’s Great War symposium, hosted by the Summersell Center for the Study of the South, “is considered to be the largest conference in the country on World War I and the South,” says John Giggie, Associate Professor and Director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South at The University of Alabama.
This program, cohosted by Professor John Giggie and Professor Andrew Huebner, will feature internationally renowned scholars of the First World War from around the country:
Panels will focus on the war’s political, social and cultural impact on the South in general as well as Alabama in particular.
The symposium is free and open to the public, though registration is required. A reception will follow the closing of the last session, and books by the participating scholars will be available for purchase.
On Monday, March 27, 2017, The Summersell Center for the Study of the South sponsored The University of Alabama Department of History’s conference entitled “Dreams of Dominion; The U.S. South and Latin America.” The event featured two panels, the first, “Slavery and its Legacy,” with Martha S. Santos, Chase McCarter, David. C. Lafevor, and moderated by Professor John Giggie, and the second, “Expansion,” with Roberto Saba, Daniel Burge, and moderated by Professor Lesley Gordon. The event ended with a keynote lecture by David Lafevor entitled, “The Slave Ship Ciceròn and the Argüelles Affair.”
The following day, an addition luncheon and lecture was hosted by the History Department with faculty, students, and the speakers from the previous day’s event.