Even if my words end up on the cutting room floor, it was so wonderful spending part of this Sunday morning with my dear colleague Hilary Green as we discussed Alabama history since the state (and Tuscaloosa) were founded in 1819.
Such sharing in Tuscaloosa’s Capital Park was made possible by a visit from Michael Letcher, the producer of the Emmy Award-winning television show Discovering Alabama. This episode pivots on the publication of Guy Hubbs’ latest book on Tuscaloosa, which is available for purchase in numerous places including Tuscaloosa’s Ernest and Hadley Booksellers. The book’s availability coincides with bicentennial celebrations for the state and city.
Hubbs patiently waited as Hilary and I were interviewed first. Our colleague John Beeler also patiently waited and watched. When it was Hilary’s turn to speak, I took a moment to quietly walk alone through the ruins of the Old Alabama State capitol building. I thought about how it was a school for young women after the state leaders moved to Montgomery, the new state capital, in 1846. I was struck by the privilege I had in even standing there as a woman of color with a PhD.
I don’t typically make much of that degree.
Knowing how the many difficult topics at hand about our shared past and present might be be heard by viewers throughout the state made the implications of this accomplishment urgent though.
Also, knowing that my colleague Hilary and I both share the same last name and have the same degree from two distinguished programs made the brief and quiet walk even more urgent. Team Green. We have so much to do with others to make this world more inclusive. We are proof that some progress has been made. May it continue.
Hilary’s particular expertise on slavery in Tuscaloosa and Alabama always leaves me so proud of our chance to help tell the story of American civilization.
Important nuances are offered by both of us that make real the impact of laborers whose names we will never know. I am already thinking of how those nuances will show up in my work as I progress in and outside of academe.
Meanwhile, the magnolias are back in Ttown. This is one is lighting up the living room with the most beautiful scent!