I opened my mailbox and smiled. The latest issue of Alabama Heritage was inside. Among the featured stories is an article I wrote on how young women sidestepped stereotypes about southern belles by obtaining an education in the years leading to and beyond the Civil War. Above is a picture of African American women in an upholstery class at Tuskegee Institute. Below is a 1911 photo of young women from the varsity basketball team at Alabama Central Female Academy, which once occupied the old state capitol building in Tuscaloosa. Since the second half of the eighteenth century and certainly even before the University of Alabama opened in 1831, young women in Alabama were discussing important issues of the day including slavery in classrooms. Their opportunities to enroll at academies and seminaries was partly a result of Enlightenment era thought.
The article in Alabama Heritage was inspired by a lesson plan in the last Antebellum America course I taught. I wonder what topic this fall’s class will inspire as we use Tuscaloosa as a lab to learn about space and power.
Meanwhile, 29 days until my first two classes, if I am counting correctly.
Among the things on the front burner is my ongoing research on spatial and racial politics in Florida since the antebellum period. I recently visited Richter Library at the University of Miami. Special thanks to Marcia Heath on the Archives and Special Collections team for her help there. UM’s football program circa 1980s and beyond centers my present work. Exhausted, but excited about new school year. Roll Tide. #Caneforlife. Yes, what happens if/when Alabama and the U meet again? Oh, dear.