Department of History

  • UAB History Students Present at Statewide Antisemitism Conference

    Eve Wright presents her research at the Rosa Park Museum at Troy University in Montgomery, Alabama.

    By Eve Wright

    Eve Wright presents her research at the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University in Montgomery, Alabama. Antisemitism is often called “the longest hatred,” yet few of us have a knowledge of it that extends beyond Nazi Germany and the Second World War. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to take a semester-long class on the prejudice and discrimination that has faced Jews throughout their history, I leapt at the chance.

    The class, which was taught by five experts across the state of Alabama, considered the history of antisemitism from the medieval period to present. We were introduced to a range of sources, including plays, films, and historical documents, which we analyzed prior to class and on a discussion board, allowing for more comprehensive discussions in our weekly seminars. The opportunity to have five professors with expertise in various areas allowed for a class experience which I have not had before. Each professor employed a different teaching style, which kept the class engaging and vibrant.

    As an exchange student from England majoring in American and Canadian Studies, I found the latter weeks the most fascinating as they focused heavily on antisemitism in the United States. Most notable for me was the consideration of the relationship between African Americans and the Jewish community, which led me to write my final research paper on whether Jewish-Americans earned or chose their whiteness and how this affected Antisemitism in the African American community in the latter half of the twentieth century.

    The class culminated in a conference held in Montgomery, Alabama, with each student giving a 15-minute presentation on the research paper they had written for the class. Topics ranged from contemporary antisemitic conspiracy theories and how they are rooted in historic anti-Jewish tropes to Jewish-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages. This opportunity was extremely exciting for me as an exchange student, given my home university does not offer such team-taught opportunities.

    This class truly changed me as a student. It pushed me to critically approach sources in a way that I had not before, whilst building my confidence in my own knowledge and work.

    Eve Wright is an exchange student and American & Canadian Studies major from University of Nottingham, UK.

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  • Employees recognized at 2021 UAB Service Awards

    Twenty-seven College of Arts and Sciences employees who have worked at UAB for 20 years or more were recognized at the UAB Service Awards reception on April 11, 2022.

    Dean Kecia M. Thomas with Kim Hazelwood at the UAB Service Awards reception.Twenty-seven College of Arts and Sciences employees who have worked at UAB for 20 years or more were recognized at the UAB Service Awards reception on April 11, 2022. These dedicated colleagues were honored for their number of years of employment at UAB as of December 31, 2021.

     

    The UAB Service Awards are given to active employees beginning at five years of employment and at each five-year milestone. Employees who reach 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 years of service are invited to a reception on behalf of UAB President Ray L. Watts and presented with a service award pin, certificate, and a gift of gratitude.

     

    This year, Dr. Vithal K. Ghanta, professor in the Department of Biology and co-director of the Undergraduate Immunology Program, was honored for 50 years of service to UAB. Dr. Gregory Pence, professor in the Department of Philosophy and director of the Early Medical School Acceptance Program, was honored for 45 years of service. Congratulations to all our colleagues for their dedication and commitment to the University’s mission and vision.

    50-Year Recipient: Dr. Vithal K. Ghanta, professor in the Department of Biology

    20-Year Recipients

    • Kimberly H. Hazelwood, College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office
    • Erin Wright, Art and Art History
    • Tanja Matthews, Chemistry
    • Dr. Jacqueline Nikles, Chemistry
    • Daniel L. Butcher, English
    • Dr. Gale M. Temple, English
    • Dr. Lourdes M. Sanchez-Lopez, Foreign Languages and Literatures
    • Dr. Stephen J. Miller, History
    • Dr. John Heith Copes, Criminal Justice
    • Dr. Reinhard E. Fambrough, Music
    • Dr. Gitendra Uswatte, Psychology
    45-Year Recipient: Dr. Gregory E. Pence, professor in the Department of Philosophy

    25-Year Recipients

    • James R. Grimes, Advising
    • Margaret Amsler, Biology
    • Leslie C. Hendon, Biology
    • Adriana S. Addison, Psychology
    • Dr. Karlene K. Ball, Psychology
    • Wanda R. Fisher, Psychology
    • Pamela Y. Robinson, Psychology

    30-Year Recipients

    • Dr. Tracy P. Hamilton, Chemistry
    • Dr. Kathryn D. Morgan, Criminal Justice and African American Studies
    • Kimberly A. Schnormeier, Theatre

    35-Year Recipients

    • Dr. Edwin W. Cook III, Psychology
    • Dr. Edward Taub, Psychology

    40-Year Recipients

    • Dr. Howard L. Irving, Music
    • Dr. Franklin R. Amthor, Psychology

    45-Year Recipient

    • Dr. Gregory E. Pence, Philosophy

    50-Year Recipient

    • Dr. Vithal K. Ghanta, Biology

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  • Ten UAB students, one alum named Fulbright semifinalists

    Eleven Blazers have been named semifinalists for an international exchange program.

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  • Graduating students make a splash while creating “The SpongeBob Musical”

    Lighting designer Bailey Dumlao and co-director Devin Ty Franklin are two of the artists behind the scenes of Theatre UAB’s “The SpongeBob Musical.”

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  • 2022 Michel de Montaigne Endowed Prize in the History of Ideas

    The Michel de Montaigne Endowed Prize in the History of Ideas was established in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2018 in honor of the 16th-century French essayist.

    Jonathan Wiesen, Ph.D.The recipient of the 2022 Michel de Montaigne Endowed Prize in the History of Ideas is Jonathan Wiesen, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of History. This prestigious academic award acknowledges his notable essay "International Responses to Nazi Race and Jewish Policy, 1933-1939." Dr. Wiesen's UAB colleagues on the selection committee chose his work for this honor.

    The selection committee remarked that "This essay situates the argument clearly within scholarly discourse and cites relevant literature" and went on to describe the piece as "clearly written and organized." Moreover, the members note, "The discussion of the U.S. as a case study for race and how it fed into German policies in the 1930s is both accessibly framed and really a stunning contribution to this area of research."

    The Michel de Montaigne Endowed Prize in the History of Ideas includes a $1,000 award, as well as a plaque to commemorate Dr. Wiesen's achievement.

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  • 2022 winners of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching

    The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes full-time regular faculty members of University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching.

    2022 winners of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: Ragib Hasan, Ph.D.; Dione King, Ph.D.; and Andrew Baer, Ph.D.The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes full-time regular faculty members of University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching.

    Award winners must have held faculty status at UAB for a minimum of three years and may receive the award only once in any three-year period.

    The CAS Excellence in Teaching Committee selected award recipients for being outstanding representatives of effective teaching and thoughtful pedagogy from the Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    • Arts and Humanities: Andrew Baer, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of History
    • Natural Sciences and Mathematics: Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences: Dione King, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work

    Congratulations to this year’s winners. Also, in the near future, one of these faculty members will be awarded the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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  • Annual Jemison Lecture presents “Inventing ‘Authenticity’”

    The 2022 Jemison Lecture will explore the use of the word “authenticity” in today’s culture April 6 at the UAB Alumni House.

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  • New history scholarship honors Fred Dyess

    If you ever stepped foot inside of Avondale Antiques in Birmingham, Alabama, you surely met owner Fred Dyess. His engaging personality and encyclopedic knowledge of antiques would grab ahold of every customer, prompting new friendships and sparking dynamic conversations.

    Fred DyessIf you ever stepped foot inside of Avondale Antiques in Birmingham, Alabama, you surely met owner Fred Dyess. His engaging personality and encyclopedic knowledge of antiques would grab ahold of every customer, prompting new friendships and sparking dynamic conversations.

    “He was an interesting person with a lot of different hobbies,” said Seth Dyess, Fred’s son. “He was always willing to help people.”

    Fred nurtured his interest in antiques and history as he traveled the country as a young man. He grew up in Saraland, Alabama; moved to Waynesboro, Mississippi; then settled in Houston, Texas for several years. While in Houston, Fred met his wife Judy Flowers Dyess, and they began to build a life together.

    “Throughout his travels, he gained a passion for history,” said Seth.

    Along with his journeys, Fred also explored several career fields, including landscaping and sales. When Fred and Judy moved to Birmingham, he made a major life decision and enrolled in college. He selected the University of Alabama at Birmingham and, after taking a few courses, decided to pursue his academic passion: history.

    According to Seth, his father was a first-generation college student, which is why he held a special place in his heart for UAB.

    “[Many UAB students] are doing everything they can, which is what my father did,” said Seth.

    Over time, Fred put his business-sense and love for history into practice, and, in 2015, he opened a mid-century community institution simply known as Avondale Antiques.

    When spending time in his store, Fred was more than a salesman. He was a guide—someone who could help you curate a room, while also providing historical context for a rattan chair or a mid-century buffet. In some cases, Fred would personally drive a piece to a customer’s home, carry it inside, and help arrange it. Clearly, he loved his work.

    Sadly, on January 2, 2022, Fred passed away after battling COVID-19. The painful news reverberated through his community of friends, supporters, and customers, many of whom shared heartfelt memories of Fred on the Avondale Antiques Facebook page and elsewhere.

    While still grieving, Seth sought a way to honor his life and legacy. Given his father’s love for history and UAB, Seth established the Fred Dyess Endowed Student Award in History.

    “It honors him,” said Seth. “For someone who is working and raising kids and is trying to go to school, [this scholarship] will hopefully ease the burden.”

    Through this scholarship, Seth and his family may help another first-generation college student invest in their love for history and fulfill their dreams. The College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of History deeply appreciate this new scholarship and offer condolences to the Dyess family.

    More information about the Fred Dyess Endowed Student Award in History is available here.

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  • College of Arts and Sciences offering two new minors

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) College of Arts and Science is offering two new minors for undergraduate students.

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) College of Arts and Science is offering two new minors for undergraduate students.

    The Department of Political Science and Public Administration recently launched the Public Management and Policy Minor. According to Rob Blanton, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration (PSPA), “The department’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program has a long history of providing graduate and professional students some of the necessary skills to succeed in the management of public and nonprofit organizations, two large and vibrant sectors within our economy.” PSPA faculty reflected on the MPA program’s successes and established a clear goal for the new minor: to build some of the same key skills and competencies for undergraduate students. The minor can thus provide a strong foundation for future graduate work in public management or give students valuable skills to help them in their career journeys.

    The College is also excited to announce the new Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Minor. This minor is focused on material, intellectual, sociopolitical, literary, and linguistic approaches to the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance periods. According to Walter Ward, Ph.D., professor in the Department of History, “Students will learn current theories and methods for working with a range of source materials and objects, from archaeological finds and architecture to historical documents and poetry.” The interdisciplinary program combines the fields of history, literature, archaeology, anthropology, art history, philosophy, cultural studies, economics, and more to understand the premodern world. All courses are taught by faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    You can learn more about both programs by visiting the Undergraduate Course Catalog Addenda. Also, for more information about the Public Management and Policy Minor, you can email Dr. Blanton at rgblanton@uab.edu. For more information about the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Minor, you can contact Dr. Ward (wdward@uab.edu) or Dr. Clements (jclements@uab.edu).

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  • UAB panel dives into the Ukraine crisis

    A panel including experts from across UAB will discuss the Ukraine crisis and its implications for geopolitics and human rights.

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  • Serving the youth of Alabama: UAB professor provides mental health kits to students

    Martez Files, Ph.D., delivered 1,000 mental health kits to youth in rural Alabama during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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  • 3 things to explore for Black History Month

    Joyce-Zoe Farley, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of African American Studies and Public History at UAB, shares three things to read, watch, and listen to in honor of Black History Month.

    Black History Month (BHM) is the brainchild of late scholar and historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson. The celebration of Black accomplishment and progress started as Black History Week in 1926 and became a month-long observance in the late 1960s. Since its inception, the jubilee celebrates the undeniable legacy and impact of Black culture, genius, and the dark past of the enslaved in the U.S. To see and sample the beauty of Black History Month, support local Black businesses, listen, read, and watch. Here are my three recommendations, plus some extra credit.

    1. Read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
      The incredible and fascinating read tells the story of the Great Migration of Blacks from the American south to the north in the early years of the 20th century to the 1970s from the perspective of three protagonists.
    2. Watch The Women of Brewster Place.
      It is a film adaptation of Gloria Naylor’s book by the same name and tells the story of several Black women from different generations living in a Chicago tenement and their societal and generational problems.
    3. Listen to "A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina)" by Terence Blanchard.
      Blanchard, a jazz trumpeter and composer, is the writer of the score for Spike Lee’s "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," a documentary about the response and ills of Hurricane Katrina.

    Plus, some extra credit:

    • Listen to At the Close of a Century, the four-disc compilation is a collection of the legendary works of writer, musician, and composer Stevie Wonder. He’s my fave!
    • Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, the PBS documentary film series presented and written by lauded scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., offers a comprehensive view of African American history from the African continent to today.

    In the words of James Weldon Johnson, the author of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the Black national anthem: "We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last, where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.”

    Black history's future is in its people and will always have a place in American history.

    Joyce-Zoe Farley, Ph.D., is the visiting assistant professor of African American Studies and Public History in the Department of History and African American Studies Program at UAB.

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  • I am Arts and Sciences: Joshua L. Baker

    When speaking with Joshua L. Baker, Principal Owner and Managing Director of Baker Camp Arnold Capital Management, you cannot overlook his passion for history. In fact, most of the artifacts and framed items on his office walls are testaments to his deep interest in the discipline.

    When speaking with Joshua L. Baker, Principal Owner and Managing Director of Baker Camp Arnold Capital Management, you cannot overlook his passion for history. In fact, most of the artifacts and framed items on his office walls are testaments to his deep interest in the discipline.

    “I think history is well-rounded,” said Baker. “It gives us a different lens to look through.”

    The term “well-rounded” also applies nicely to Baker—a historian, former international soccer player, collegiate baseball player, and successful entrepreneur.

    Baker grew up in Cropwell, Alabama. As a young and talented multi-sport athlete, he sought opportunities to further develop his skills on the field, eventually leading him to Coosa Valley Academy his junior year of high school to play baseball, then to Bullock Memorial School his senior year after a family move to south Alabama. After graduation, he earned a slot as a designated hitter on the Huntingdon College baseball team.

    At Huntingdon, Baker studied history and met his future wife, Audrey. After getting engaged, they decided to relocate to Birmingham so she could pursue a career in the medical field. Determined to continue his academic journey, Baker looked to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    “UAB covers the whole gamut… I had a different professor for every single discipline,” said Baker. “It allowed for a more creative focus on the subject matter.”

    While at UAB, Baker decided to major in history with a minor in anthropology and archaeology. Also, he participated in the United States Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. Between his studies and ROTC, Baker’s vision for his future began to materialize.

    “I knew I was good with numbers... I realized quickly that I didn’t want to work for anyone [though],” said Baker.

    By studying history, Baker believes he further developed his analytical mindset, which, in his opinion, complements his inherent talent with numbers. Through this intersection, Baker uncovered a key differentiator for his future business in financial services and capital management—specifically, to analyze every client’s unique situation and “connect every piece of the puzzle” in a consultative manner.

    The road to owning his own business was long, though. After graduating from UAB, Baker worked for several banks, then explored a career with a captive broker-dealer. Those experiences proved to be challenging (and occasionally disappointing), but his passion for financial services and capital management while helping people achieve their goals remained firm. Eventually, he knew he needed to build his own business to fully realize his vision.

    “We started with zero,” said Baker. “I cast a vision and figured it out.”

    Baker took the leap in May of 2017—“after incessantly looking at the pros and cons and praying over the decision for over two years prior to that,” he says—and launched Baker Camp Arnold Capital Management, a full-service financial advisory firm located in Hoover, Alabama. In less than five years, the company has grown substantially and received numerous acknowledgements and awards, including:

    Along with growing his business and team, Baker and his wife Audrey also find many ways to give back to the community—including a newly-established endowed scholarship for the UAB Department of History.

    “We wanted to focus on something very specific,” said Baker. “We’re the first to establish an endowed scholarship for graduate students [in the Department of History].

    The Joshua L. and Audrey D. Baker Endowed Scholarship will help future graduate students in history overcome financial barriers, so they can focus on their studies. Baker’s appreciation for graduate studies is a personal commitment too—one day, he hopes to earn his master’s degree in the discipline of military history. In the meantime, between reading several World War II books a month and traveling the country to watch his kids play hockey and hunting whatever is in season, Baker is finding plenty of opportunities to stay busy outside of the office.

    CRN202412-1428634

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  • History students author stories for “Alabama Heritage” blog

    Kaye Cochran Nail, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of History, is finding innovative ways for her History of Alabama (HC-116 2C) students to craft and share public history stories with audiences across the state.

    Kaye Cochran Nail, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of History, is finding innovative ways for her History of Alabama (HC-116 2C) students to craft and share public history stories with audiences across the state.

    Prior to the Fall 2021 semester, Nail connected with Rebecca Minder, director of Alabama Heritage magazine, to co-create a new learning opportunity for undergraduate students at UAB. Minder quickly noted that the magazine—which is officially co-published by UAB, the University of Alabama, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History—has a popular blog that regularly needs well-researched and engaging content. Together, Nail and Minder decided the students were well-positioned to support this valuable storytelling effort.

    “It has turned out to be a great way for our UAB students to join with other students to publish blogs on interesting topics related to Alabama history,” said Nail.

    So far, her students have published eight blogs on topics including the Tuskegee syphilis study, the Battle of Mobile Bay, and Lewis Smith Lake. Throughout the remainder of the semester, students will continue to author and publish pieces for the website.

    "We are honored and excited to be working with the young scholars in Kaye Cochran Nail's Alabama history course this semester,” said Susan E. Reynolds, Ph.D., editor of Alabama Heritage magazine. “Their contributions to our blog have been valuable to our readership, and we think it is wonderful that these students are taking an interest in our state's history. We hope to continue this partnership in the future so that more students will be able to engage in the Alabama history community.”

    Moving forward, Nail hopes to deepen the partnership with Alabama Heritage magazine and create more opportunities for students to obtain hands-on experience with public history.

    According to Jonathan Wiesen, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History, “It is inspiring to see our students so engaged in Public History with these blog entries. This is exactly the kind of community engagement that I love to see at UAB—students using their knowledge of history in service of educating our fellow Alabamians.”

    Read the Alabama Heritage blog.

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  • Learn about the rise of anti-Western Islamism from award-winning historian

    UAB Department of History is hosting an event that will explore the French occupation of Syria and its impact on anti-Western radical Islamism.

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  • 1850s horror Twitter, recursive propaganda, mapping mutations: Faculty grants seed new projects and nurture careers

    Projects selected for the UAB Faculty Development Grants Program offer an intriguing look into the creativity and range of research and scholarship on campus.

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  • UAB grad and filmmaker reaching bigger audiences

    Anissa Latham nurtured her storytelling and filmmaking skills during her time at University of Alabama at Birmingham — now, with new partners and supporters investing in her work, she’s bringing her creative vision to the world.

    Anissa Latham nurtured her storytelling and filmmaking skills during her time at University of Alabama at Birmingham — now, with new partners and supporters investing in her work, she’s bringing her creative vision to the world.

    Latham earned a B.A. in African American Studies and a B.A. in Cultural Digital Storytelling (an individually designed major) from UAB's College of Arts and Sciences in 2017. She was also a member of the UAB Honors College. As an undergraduate student, Latham found many opportunities to write and share stories across campus and the community. She served as a staff writer for Kaleidoscope — UAB's student-run digital news outlet — and, during her time as an intern and fellow with UAB Digital Media, she wrote content and managed social media for the African American Studies program, giving her a chance to further connect with the program and its director, Kay Morgan, Ph.D.

    Recently, Latham reconnected with Dr. Morgan for a conversation on Juneteenth with UAB School of Medicine Dean Selwyn Vickers, M.D., for his podcast, “The Checkup.” The episode will air on June 18, 2021 and will be available here.

    June will be an exciting month for Latham. She will also premiere her new film “Missing Magic” at the American Film Institute (AFI) DOCS Film Festival, which will take place the week of June 22-27. She directed and co-produced — along with UAB alumna Kelsey Harrison — the film which will be included in the festival’s Spotlight on the Hindsight Project series. "Missing Magic" will be screening free throughout the duration of the AFI DOCS Film Festival, and ticket reservations are available here.

    When asked to summarize the film, Latham offered the following description: “As uprisings spread across the country, a young poet in Birmingham, Alabama, becomes involved in local protests against decades of police brutality. As he tries to reconcile the city’s modern image as a diverse and welcoming metropolis with its violent and complex civil rights history, he suddenly becomes a part of the story when he’s arrested at a demonstration.”

    "Missing Magic'' was one of 77 films selected by the AFI for the 2021 AFI DOCS Film Festival. Latham received support for the film from the Hindsight Project, an initiative that supports Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) filmmakers living in the American South and U.S. Territories. Through the Hindsight Project, six filmmakers — including Latham — received production support from Firelight Media, the Center for Asian American Media, and Reel South.

    Reel South — a documentary series reckoning with the South’s past, present, and future — will also premiere all six Hindsight Project films on its respective public media platforms. “Missing Magic” will be featured on Alabama Public Television (APT).

    Along with support from the Hindsight Project and APT, Latham also received mentorship from celebrated filmmaker and producer Daphne McWilliams.

    Latham lends her talents to other outlets and platforms too. She edits and produces content for Meredith Corporation, creating video content for AllRecipes, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. And she’s a video producer for Red Clay Media, generating content for the "It's a Southern Thing" brand. One of her recent works for “It’s a Southern Thing” connects back to her recent conversation with Dr. Morgan — it’s entitled, Juneteenth: America has Two Independence Day.

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  • UAB history students use Birmingham newspaper archives to create powerful project with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center

    Emma Herr and Chris Bertolini examined Birmingham Public Library newspaper archives from the Nazi period of 1933-1945, focusing on key Holocaust events. Their work will be used by the BHEC and United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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  • Celebrate 23 books authored by CAS faculty in 2020

    Writing a book isn’t easy, but faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences produced nearly two-dozen — for the second year in a row. Twenty faculty from 13 departments wrote books on police violence, John Milton, democracy in Bangladesh, addiction, postcommunist theatre and more.

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  • UAB history journal for student scholarship wins a national award

    The annual Vulcan Historical Review was honored in the 2020 Gerald D. Nash History Graduate Online Journal Competition.

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