Listening to Eartha Kitt as I tie together lots of loose ends including prepping for an exhibit at Gorgas House receiving inspiration from the work of students enrolled in my Fall 2018 “Antebellum America” class. Stills from their Power Point images are featured in this blog entry.
Earlier this week, I had Donna Summer on heavy rotation. I once met her when I was a reporter for The Miami Herald. She was also a painter and I was writing a story about an exhibit she had in a gallery in Bal Harbor, a fancy city north of Miami. I most remember how she picked up one of my braids, complementing the work of my braider, and her humility. The greats are often some of the most humble people.
With her singing as a soundtrack and that of Eartha in my head, I made a visit with a colleague yesterday to Gorgas House to test equipment for the exhibit, which will have a sonic soundscape featuring period instruments, but also a contemporary beat and the acapella voice of Olivia Melton, a University of Alabama freshman and daughter of my colleague Kari Frederickson.
There will be animated maps and abstract video from a video made for an end of the year presentation by my very first “The Nineteenth Century City” class.
The New York Times bestselling author Dolen Perkins-Valdez will be our guest speaker. Her latest book is set in Alabama. The one thread throughout the digital images being animated by Kat Flandermeyer, a UA graduate student, is the way in which power is always in flux, an idea that is critical in my research, teaching and service. As the political scientist James Scott has said, one need not necessarily resort to an overthrowing of the existing power structure. Often a claim to power emerges via an everyday action as la Stephanie M.H. Camp.
Also on my mind: presenting my first paper on the Alabama-born and Florida-bred author-anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston at the upcoming SEWSA conference and seeing old friends over Spring Break.
Here’s to life and all the joy it brings, as Eartha sings. May all that’s good get better.