Category Archives: African American History

How to Shoot an American Quilt

When Digital Services was asked to provide images for an upcoming book on longtime donor Wade Hall’s amazing array of archival collections, most of the requests were fairly standard: book covers, documents, and photos. Even the occasional 8-Track box or daguerreotype wasn’t all … Continue reading

February 1956: When the Eyes of the World Were on Us

Sixty years ago, the first major step was made toward desegregating the University of Alabama. Autherine Lucy, a black woman from Shiloh, Alabama, was enrolled – and a few days later suspended, eventually expelled, though she had done nothing wrong. … Continue reading

A Day in the Life: August 25

Archives give us a chance to look at the world in a lot of different ways, through lenses big and small. Today, we take a cross section of life on this date, August 25, across the decades. From 1840 to … Continue reading

Newly online: materials about slave labor at UA, 1820s-1860s

We know them by first name only, and there’s a good chance those are not the names they were born with. Men called William, Moses, Edwards, Patrick, Sam, Major, Quillen, Arthur, Speers, Robert, Andrew, Swindle, Peter, Erasmus, Anderson, Jack, Isaac, … Continue reading

Life in the mines: Desegregated labor unions

Normally, we do a post on labor unions for labor day, but it seemed appropriate to bring up the subject for Black History Month, too. African Americans in Birmingham-area mines and industrial plants were often important leaders in efforts to … Continue reading

Hugh Davis farm journals, 1848-1880

Hugh Davis (1811-1862) was an Alabama lawyer turned plantation owner. Being a learned man, his record books from the Beaver Bend farm are thorough and articulate, describing both day-to-day activities and overall running of farming operations, including the relationship between … Continue reading

Marking the 50th Anniversary of Desegregation at The University of Alabama

Fifty years ago tomorrow, James Hood and Vivian Malone made history as the first African-Americans to successfully enroll at the University of Alabama. Though initially blocked from entry by Governor George Wallace — during his infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse … Continue reading

Flashback to Emphasis ’68: Roy Wilkins

Forty five years ago this week, The University of Alabama began its second annual symposium on contemporary issues. Known as Emphasis, it ran from 1967-1971, with varying degrees of success. This week, we revisit some of its more memorable speeches and … Continue reading

James Hood

On any given weekday, you will see a variety of students from different ethnicities, religions and socioeconomic classes wandering the quad, dorms, and halls. As an institution, we have come to reflect and embrace these differences, but the University of … Continue reading

Hidden Gem: comedian Dick Gregory at Emphasis ’70

When he took the stage at UA in October 1969, African-American comedian Dick Gregory joked that he’d meant to be there six months before, for the previous Emphasis program, but he’d been in jail at the time and couldn’t make … Continue reading