Students enrolled in my “Antebellum America” course had an unexpected break. A guest speaker had a bad cold. As I had not prepared an extra lecture to fill in the time (the hazards of a new class when you are often only a page ahead of the students), I thought we’d take advantage of the break in cold weather by visiting a spring on campus. This week we were discussing waterways in antebellum America and Marr’s Spring certainly fits into any discussion concerning the importance of water to a developing nation. One video resulting from our visit to Marr’s Spring certainly demonstrates as much.
While editing the photographs, audio and video gathered at the spring, I was impressed by our ability to quickly salvage our time together. I was also very struck by the above image from Lauren Chase, a student in the class. I wanted to share it with you.
If time permits, see the just mentioned video. It really homes in on an ongoing theme in this course: the complexities of antebellum America. Although the horrors of slavery can never be denied, black-white interaction and opportunities for even the most oppressed groups to reveal their understanding of the promises of freedom deserves greater attention in and outside of the classroom.
I am grateful to Callie Rhodes (a graduate student who is taking this undergraduate course to push her thinking for a seminar paper) for sharing her research on Solomon Perteet, an African American planter who lived in Tuscaloosa. He realized the importance of maintaining the water rights to an area well.
Postscript: We heard via email from Nelson Brooke, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, about his desire to stir interest in creating a greenway from Marr’s Spring to the Black Warrior.
Also, more images from students continue to come in including another video , this one edited by Emily Warren and Kate Haughton, two more students in the course. They re-imagined a classic R & B tune on urban life to situate Perteet in a more expansive narrative.
Also, I just tweeted one of several photos from another student Ben Wilkinson, among them the one below: Great job, class.