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Alabama History Day 2024 winners announced

BIRMINGHAM / March 18, 2024 — This month, the Alabama Humanities Alliance presented its annual Alabama History Day contest, an accessible, statewide history research competition for middle and high school students. A total of 167 students traveled from schools across the state to compete at Auburn University at Montgomery’s campus on March 8, 2024. Eligible first- and second-place winners will represent Alabama at National History Day in Maryland and Washington, D.C., scheduled for June 9-13, 2024.

Throughout the 2023-2024 academic school year, Alabama teachers incorporated History Day as a project-learning tool in their classrooms. Students conducted primary research on topics of their own choosing related to this year’s History Day theme: Turning Points in History.

At the March 8 state contest, students creatively presented their research to judges — in the form of documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, or websites. The Freedom Rides Museum and Rosa Parks Museum enriched students’ experience by providing guided tours full of told and untold Alabama stories.

Alabama History Day continues to grow statewide
In 2024, the state’s first-ever regional contest was held in South Alabama. Idrissa N. Snider, Ph.D., serves as AHA’s History Day coordinator and has worked persistently to develop the program. Dr. Snider, and a pair of teacher ambassadors designated to serve North and South Alabama, provide virtual and in-person assistance to educators and administrators interested in offering History Day to their students.

“A program like Alabama History Day provides an invaluable opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds to delve into a history topic of their choice,” expressed Dr. Idrissa N. Snider, Ph.D., Coordinator of Alabama History Day. “Through this process, we aim to cultivate more informed and responsible citizens who understand the complexities of history and its relevance to contemporary society.”

The Alabama Humanities Alliance invites teachers, judges, and students from across the state to participate in Alabama History Day 2025. Next year’s date and theme will be announced this summer. Teachers use Alabama History Day as a project-based learning tool, and to spark creativity, camaraderie, and healthy competition in the classroom. AHD staff offer “Alabama History Day & Donuts” in-person introductions, as well as more immersive teacher workshops, student summer camps, and virtual Q&As for judges and teachers.

Alabama History Day is made possible thanks to AHA’s partnership with National History Day. Support for the program comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “A More Perfect Union” initiative and from Alabama Power. The Alabama Humanities Alliance also awarded 2024 special topic prizes of excellence thanks to partnerships with the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama Historical Association, Alabama Public Television, David Mathews Center for Civic Life, Interstate Character Council, National Maritime Historical Society, and Sons of the American Revolution.

Learn more at alabamahumanities.org/alabama-history-day.

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance
Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. AHA promotes impactful storytelling, lifelong learning and civic engagement. We provide Alabamians with opportunities to connect with our shared cultures and to see each other as fully human. Through our grantmaking, we help scholars, communities and cultural nonprofits create humanities-rich projects that are accessible to all Alabamians — from literary festivals and documentary films to museum exhibitions and research collections. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

 

PRESS CONTACT: Phillip Jordan | 205.558.3998 | [email protected]

AHA announces new board members

BIRMINGHAM / January 23, 2023 — The Alabama Humanities Alliance (AHA) has appointed Clay Lofton and Ansley Quiros as new members of AHA’s board of directors. The two will help support AHA’s efforts as it enters its 50th anniversary in 2024.

“We’re excited to have Ansley and Clay join us,” says AHA Executive Director Chuck Holmes. “They each bring unique experiences and perspectives to AHA that will strengthen the organization and keep us leaning forward. Plus, simply put, they are two of the nicest and smartest people you’ll ever meet.”

Learn more about AHA’s newest board members:

Clay Loftin, government relations manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBS), where he works with the Alabama Legislature, executive branch, and Alabama’s congressional delegation. He is responsible for legislative advocacy and healthcare policy efforts to ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare for more than 2 million Alabamians. Loftin’s passion for his home state has also led him to serve as a board member for the Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama (’17-’20) and on the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Jr. Executive Board (‘21-’23). He’s also in the current Alabama Leadership Initiative Class VI.

Ansley Quiros, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at the University of North Alabama and co-directs the Civil Rights Struggle in the Shoals Project. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Vanderbilt, and she studies twentieth-century United States, focusing on race, politics, and religion. Quiros’ work has been publicized in The Washington Post, North Alabama Historical Review, and Atlanta Studies. Her debut novel, God With Us: Lived Theology and the Black Freedom Struggle in Americus, Georgia, 1942-1976, was published by the University of North Carolina Press. She is currently working on a biography of civil rights activists Charles and Shirley Sherrod.

The Alabama Humanities Alliance also extends its thanks to departing board member, Joseph Aistrup, Ph.D., From 2021-2022, Aistrup served as chair of AHA’s board. He is a professor in Auburn University’s Department of Political Science; he previously served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University from 2013-2021.

The Alabama Humanities Alliance’s board of directors represents communities and perspectives from across the state. To learn more, meet our full board.

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance
Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through our grantmaking and public programming, we connect Alabamians to impactful storytelling, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We believe the humanities can bring our communities together and help us all see each other as fully human. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

AHA names three new Riley Scholars

BIRMINGHAM / November 14, 2023 — The Alabama Humanities Alliance has named educators Lexia Banks, Abby Crews, and Willie Davis III as its 2023 Riley Scholars. The competitive Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to K-8 educators who excel in teaching history, civics, and geography. Each Riley Scholar receives $1,000 to support creative history- and civics-related classroom projects.

Funded through the W. Edgar Welden Fund for Education, this scholarship is named in memory of the late Jenice Riley — a passionate educator and daughter of former Alabama governor and first lady Bob and Patsy Riley.

Since 2003, the Alabama Humanities Alliance has named 104 Riley Scholars and funded more than $100,000 in teacher scholarships. In 2023, at least 162 Alabamian students will benefit from these scholarship their teachers have received.

 

About our 2023 Riley Scholars

Lexia Banks, Magic City Acceptance Academy (Birmingham)
7th Grade, Charter School

Project: 7th Grade Trip to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The trip will elevate the school’s Social Movements unit by commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing through a tour of the BCRI. Students will leave with a better understanding of Alabama’s history and how it impacts their future.

 

Abby Crews, Mulkey Elementary School (Geneva)
5th Grade, Social Studies

Project: Living History Wax Museum
Students will select a person of positive influence who has significantly contributed to society from the Living History Wax Museum exhibits. After researching, learners will prepare biographical presentation boards, dress as their selected icon, and present a short speech to family and community members. Participants will increase their proficiency and skills in reading, writing, public speaking, and critical thinking.

 

Willie Davis III, Charles F. Hard Elementary (Bessemer)
Kindergarten 

Project: A Community of Helpers
Students will listen to “read-alouds” and receive visits from community helpers to inform them about public service occupations. Learners will increase their appreciation for civil servants through art, literature, and more as community helpers inspire them.

 

Support our teacher scholarships

Alabamians are invited to support these Riley Scholarships through our W. Edgar Welden Fund for Education.

To contribute:

To learn more about the Riley Scholarships, visit alabamahumanities.org/jenice-riley-memorial-scholarship. Or contact Laura Anderson, AHA’s director of partnerships and outcomes, at [email protected] or 205.558.3992.

 

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance

Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through our grantmaking and public programming, we connect Alabamians to impactful storytelling, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We believe the humanities can bring our communities together and help us all see each other as fully human. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

Introducing Alabama History Day teacher ambassadors

BIRMINGHAM / November 9, 2023 — The Alabama Humanities Alliance proudly announces the appointment of Rebecca Heaton and Cheryl Burch as Alabama History Day teacher ambassadors for North and South Alabama. In their roles, Heaton and Burch will serve as key points of contact for teachers and educators interested in participating in Alabama History Day.

Rebecca Heaton, teacher ambassador, North AL.

Heaton and Burch will support the efforts of Alabama History Day coordinator Idrissa N. Snider, Ph.D., in expanding outreach to both rural and urban areas across the state. Their collaborative outreach includes Alabama History Day and Donuts — a new initiative providing accessible school visits to facilitate helpful discussions about Alabama History Day.

Rebecca Heaton, AHA’s teacher ambassador for North Alabama, brings a wealth of experience to her role. Her involvement with History Day dates to 2008, when she covered stories about the competition as a journalist in Fairbanks, Alaska.

In 2018, Heaton directed the Alaska History Day Competition and served as a program coordinator for the Western History Association. She lives in Huntsville, where she’s pursuing a public history and architecture degree.

Cheryl Burch, teacher ambassador, South AL.

Cheryl Burch, AHA’s teacher ambassador for South Alabama, has a strong background in education. Her journey with History Day began as an 8th-grade Ancient World History teacher at Phillips Preparatory Academy. Burch’s dedication led her to sponsor History Day at Phillips, where she earned Alabama’s Patricia Behring Middle School Teacher of the Year award.

Building upon her expertise, Burch assumed the role of National History Day Master Teacher, conducting training workshops for NHD educators. Burch is enjoying her recent retirement, splitting her time between Mobile and Simpsonville, South Carolina.

This dynamic duo will play a crucial role in strengthening the impact of Alabama History Day, increasing engagement in broader communities, and bringing history to life for students across the state.

To learn more, visit alabamahumanities.org/alabama-history-day. Or contact AHD program coordinator Dr. Snider at [email protected] or 205.558.3996.

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance
Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through our grantmaking and public programming, we connect Alabamians to impactful storytelling, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We believe the humanities can bring our communities together and help us all see each other as fully human. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

Perry, Mathews honored as Humanities Fellows

BIRMINGHAM / October 24, 2023 — Amidst an era of divisiveness and disinformation, the Alabama Humanities Alliance’s 2023 Alabama Colloquium shined a spotlight on how the humanities can build community and offer truth and healing through honest, shared explorations of the past. For proof of that, look no further than this year’s newly named Alabama Humanities Fellows, Imani Perry, Ph.D., and David Mathews, Ph.D.

Perry and Mathews were honored before a sold-out gathering at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, where the historian-author-scholar duo shared stories from their careers and the impact Alabama has had on their work.

Dr. Perry was introduced by Odessa Woolfolk, a 1997 Fellow and an icon in Birmingham for her role as an educator, activist, and as founding president of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and as co-founder of Leadership Alabama.

During her presentation, Woolfolk noted that, “Dr. Perry has said ‘writing can be a moral instrument if it asks us to do more than read.’ South to America should inspire its readers to do something for the betterment of America. Perhaps, in the words of the late Congressman John Lewis, there is a lot of good trouble, necessary trouble to be had right here in Birmingham and in our country. Just a thought.”

Dr. Mathews was introduced by Catherine Randall, Ph.D., co-founder and chair emerita of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, as well as a five-time graduate of the University of Alabama.

“Today, David Mathews is receiving the highest humanities honor in the state because he sees diverse communities, rich cultures, and fellow neighbors more clearly and with more empathy,” Randall said. “He provides context that helps us better understand our past and our present…His scholarship and public service in pursuit of community-building and deliberative democracy represent the best of the humanities.”

 

Fellows in conversation

During their on-stage conversation, Mathews and Perry talked at great length about community and how the past informs our present.

“The word ‘community’ originally meant to share with or to care with,” Mathews noted. “Every word carries with it a history and that word’s history carries a recognition by our most ancient ancestors that to survive — just to stay alive — required different people to come together, beyond just family.”

“Part of the difficulty with listening is people are uncomfortable with being uncomfortable, which is actually a necessary part of being in respectful community,” Perry added. “At minimum, what’s required is for people to get comfortable with hearing things that might be unsettling and actually examine why it feels unsettling — to sit with the discomfort.”=

At the end of the event, each honoree was asked what it meant to return home to Alabama and receive this honor.

“It means the world to me,” Perry responded. “I have traveled far and been educated at lots of fancy places, but everything that I have carried with me that has enabled me to move with integrity and diligence and rigor and deep love of people — which is at the heart of the humanities — comes from this soil and my family. This means so much. There’s nothing in the world like being celebrated at home.”

Mathews ended his remarks with some levity, leaving the room in laughter. “A lot of people think I’m crazy,” he said with a smile. “But thanks to this award, they cannot prove it.”

The event was moderated by journalist Priska Neely, managing editor of the Gulf States Newsroom, an innovative collaboration among National Public Radio and member stations in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Neely filled in at the last second for planned moderator Kaitlan Collins, the CNN anchor and Alabama native who was sent on assignment to cover the ongoing war in the Middle East.

Collins sent a taped message to the Colloquium crowd that included her congratulations to Perry and Mathews: “You have both done such important work not only in exploring our past, but to also see how our past can be used to bring communities together and having those really important conversations that are so vital for our state.”

Other honorees recognized at the 2023 Alabama Colloquium included:

The Alabama Humanities Alliance also unveiled two new ways to engage with its work:

Healing History

Following the Colloquium, AHA offered a limited-capacity listening tour of Wallace House, run by our partners at the Wallace Center for Arts and Reconciliation. Built in 1841, in Harpersville, the Wallace House was once part of a 5,000-acre cotton plantation, which was worked by nearly 100 enslaved people.

Today, descendants of the home’s White landowners and enslaved Black population work together to examine their shared history and create a space for mutual understanding and reconciliation. Tour participants visited with those descendants as they shared their stories, and their hopes for the future. The tour also offered a chance to explore family exhibits and experience an open-air sculpture, Bearing Witness: Praise House, that evokes the spiritual practices of those once enslaved on the plantation.

Watch an AHA-funded video about the work underway at Wallace House.

AHA is focused on Healing History because its impact is needed urgently in our communities, and because it offers great hope for our future. As AHA’s Healing History coordinator Kathy Boswell shared:

“One of the best things about sharing history is being able to sit down and have those conversations through love, first of all. To speak from the heart and learn through the heart. To speak from curiosity and learn through curiosity, through humility. And, especially, to share and learn through willingness. Because what willingness means is, ‘I’ve left behind all the doubt, the fear, the shame, the concerns. And what I’m willing to do is, is to have the courage to raise my hand and say I’m in.’” 

 

About AHA’s 2023 Alabama Humanities Fellows

Imani Perry, a Birmingham native, is a scholar of law, literature, history, and cultural studies, as well as a creative nonfiction author. In 2022, she won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation. She was also recently received the MacArthur Fellow “genius grant.”

Perry has written five other books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, which won the 2019 PEN Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, winner of the 2019 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction.

Perry is a professor in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, one of the world’s leading centers for interdisciplinary exploration. She has bachelor’s degrees from Yale in American studies and literature, along with two terminal degrees from Harvard — a J.D. and a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization. Outside of academia, Perry is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, where she pens a weekly newsletter that frequently reckons with the past, “Unsettled Territory.”

David Mathews, a Grove Hill native, has dedicated his life to building community and promoting democracy. Mathews earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. Returning to UA, Mathews both taught history and made it. He served as a history professor from 1965-1980, became the youngest president of a major university when he began his UA tenure at age 33, and presided over the integration of the Crimson Tide’s football program under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Mathews also served as U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in President Gerald Ford’s administration, where he worked on restoring public confidence in government. And he spent four decades as president and CEO of the Kettering Foundation, focusing the nonprofit’s work on engaging citizens in the democratic process.

Mathews’ legacy is evidenced in Alabama at the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, which seeks to strengthen civic engagement statewide. While president at UA, he also played a significant role — along with his counterpart at Auburn, Harry Philpott — in helping to found what is now the Alabama Humanities Alliance.

 

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance

Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through our grantmaking and public programming, we connect Alabamians to impactful storytelling, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We believe the humanities can bring our communities together and help us all see each other as fully human. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

 

$200K for humanities projects in 2023

Birmingham / September 1, 2023  — Through the first half of 2023, the Alabama Humanities Alliance has awarded 29 grants, contributing $206,996 in funding to humanities-rich public projects. Grantee programs cover the state — from a Kudzu Soliloquy series of conversations at Dothan’s Wiregrass Museum of Art to an exploration of Asian American culture at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library (youth panel pictured above).

Through June 2023, AHA’s statewide support includes: 12 Mini Grants (up to $2,500 each); 11 Major Grants (up to $10,000 each); and 6 Media Grants (up to $15,000).

Meet AHA’s newest grantees, awarded January-June 2023

The Alabama Humanities Alliance is the primary source of grants for public humanities projects in the state. AHA offers monthly Mini Grants; quarterly Major Grants; and annual Media Grants for documentaries, podcasts, and other digital projects.

In 2022, AHA awarded 51 grants in total, contributing $301,320 for humanities-rich public programming statewide. Those projects — steeped in history, literature, civics, culture, and more — reached nearly 214,000 Alabamians. Programming included festivals, book talks, teacher workshops, oral history projects, storytelling events, art panels, podcast series, and much more.

Support for AHA’s grants comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more about current offerings and guidelines: alabamahumanities.org/grants.

Remaining grant deadlines for 2023 include:

 

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance
Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through our grantmaking and public programming, we connect Alabamians to impactful storytelling, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We believe the humanities can bring our communities together and help us all see each other as fully human. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

2023 Alabama Humanities Fellows announced

BIRMINGHAM / August 16, 2023 — A pair of Alabama natives, widely acclaimed for their insights into American history and democracy, will return home this fall to be celebrated as 2023 Alabama Humanities Fellows.

On October 23, the Alabama Humanities Alliance (AHA) will honor Imani Perry, Ph.D., and David Mathews, Ph.D., at the Alabama Colloquium, presented by Regions. The highlight of the event will feature CNN anchor and Prattville native Kaitlan Collins in a wide-ranging conversation with the honorees. The conversation will explore how examining our past can offer healing and strength for Alabama’s communities today.

The Alabama Colloquium annually offers a chance to celebrate the humanities’ impact in Alabama, honor individuals who use the humanities to make our state and nation a better place to live, and raise funds to support AHA’s statewide programming.

Following the event, AHA will offer a limited-capacity listening tour of Wallace House, in Shelby County. Built in 1841, the Wallace House was once part of a 5,000-acre cotton plantation, which was worked by nearly 100 enslaved people. Today, descendants of the home’s White landowners and enslaved Black population work together to examine their shared history and create a space for mutual understanding and reconciliation.

 

EVENT DETAILS

 

ABOUT THE HONOREES
Imani Perry, a Birmingham native, is a scholar of law, literature, history, and cultural studies, as well as a creative nonfiction author. In 2022, she won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation.

Perry has written five other books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, which won the 2019 PEN Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, winner of the 2019 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction.

Perry is a professor in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, one of the world’s leading centers for interdisciplinary exploration. She has bachelor’s degrees from Yale in American studies and literature, along with two terminal degrees from Harvard — a J.D. and a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization. Outside of academia, Perry is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, where she pens a weekly newsletter that frequently reckons with the past, “Unsettled Territory.”

David Mathews, a Grove Hill native, has dedicated his life to building community and promoting democracy. Mathews earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. Returning to UA, Mathews both taught history and made it. He served as a history professor from 1965-1980, became the youngest president of a major university when he began his UA tenure at age 33, and presided over the integration of the Crimson Tide’s football program under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Mathews also served as U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in President Gerald Ford’s administration, where he worked on restoring public confidence in government. And he spent four decades as president and CEO of the Kettering Foundation, focusing the nonprofit’s work on engaging citizens in the democratic process.

Mathews’ legacy is evidenced in Alabama at the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, which seeks to strengthen civic engagement statewide.

 

ABOUT THE MODERATOR
Kaitlan Collins, a Prattville native, is a journalist and anchor of CNN’s primetime show, “The Source with Kaitlan Collins.” Previously, Collins was co-anchor and chief correspondent of “CNN This Morning.” Prior to that, she served as CNN’s chief White House correspondent, based in Washington, D.C.

Collins earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and political science from the University of Alabama.

 

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance
Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. AHA promotes impactful storytelling, lifelong learning and civic engagement. We provide Alabamians with opportunities to connect with our shared cultures and to see each other as fully human. Through our grantmaking, we help scholars, communities and cultural nonprofits create humanities-rich projects that are accessible to all Alabamians — from literary festivals and documentary films to museum exhibitions and research collections. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

New learning series for Alabama educators

This Huntsville workshop is one of nine AHA is offering to educators statewide in ’23-’24.

 

BIRMINGHAM / July 6, 2023 — The Alabama Humanities Alliance announces its 2023-2024 SUPER Teacher workshop schedule. The workshops will occur across Alabama, starting on July 11, 2023, and ending on April 27, 2024. Educators seeking to gain new information and perspective on Alabama topics will receive professional development credit after diving deep into curriculum-relevant topics through directed readings, critical discussions, film viewings, lectures, writing exercises, field trips, and cultural experiences.

SUPER Teacher workshops provide a collaborative forum in which educators (in grades 4-12) can exchange ideas, gain fresh perspectives, and learn new approaches to teaching. Participants develop a multidisciplinary approach to the humanities and enjoy many significant benefits, including stipends and Continuing Education credits — all at no cost to them or their schools.

“Educators statewide and for decades have appreciated SUPER workshops for their focus on rich and relevant stories — stories that inspire new ways of teaching and learning for work and life,” says Laura Anderson, AHA director of partnerships and outcomes. “We aim for this series of topics and partnerships to serve not only teachers and students, but also communities.” 

 

AHA’s 2023-2024 SUPER Teacher workshop series:

Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events
July 11-12, 2023
Birmingham
This workshop will help educators explore potential learning opportunities they can present to students participating in Alabama History Day. The 2024 National History Day theme allows participants to explore and examine Alabama history that proved to be turning points in history, such as Birmingham’s civil rights sites. Lead scholar: Debbie Hester, Alabama History Day Teacher Ambassador.

*There are no remaining slots available for this workshop. 

 

African American Folklife in Alabama
September 7, 2023
Montgomery
Presented in partnership with the Alabama Folklife Association, this workshop will provide scholar-led presentations on Black cemeteries, folktales of religious conversion, and how to incorporate enslaved person narratives into the classroom. Lead scholars: Shari L. Williams, Ph.D., executive director of the Ridge Macon County Archeology; Trudier Harris, Ph.D., distinguished research professor of the department of English at the University of Alabama; and Alan Brown, Ph.D., professor of English at the University of West Alabama.

 

Crossroads: Change in Rural Alabama
September 22, 2023
Cleveland
This workshop will provide expert-led documentation and celebration of rural Alabama communities over time and inspire consideration of the future. A guided tour of the Smithsonian traveling exhibit of the same name will be part of the experience. Lead scholars: Tina Mozelle Braziel, Ph.D., director of the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop at UAB; Allison Upshaw, Ph.D., assistant professor of music at Stillman College; and Julia Brock, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama.

 

Birmingham’s Early Middle Eastern Community
September 30, 2023
Birmingham
In this workshop participants will answer the question, “Who were early immigrants to Birmingham from the Middle East?” by exploring a similarly themed exhibit currently on display at Vulcan Park and Museum and hearing from descendants of some of the area’s early immigrant families. Lead scholar: Annie DeVries, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Samford University.

NOTE: This workshop is designed for, and open to, the general public, as well as educators.

 

Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing, and the Power of Knowing Our Roots
2023-2024
Huntsville/Birmingham/Columbiana/Livingston/Mobile
This series of half-day workshops is based on the award-winning novel, Homegoing, by author Yaa Gyasi, a Ghanian American who grew up in Huntsville. Special guest speakers will be featured at each stop on the five-city schedule, with the series led by Zanice Bond, Ph.D., professor of English at Tuskegee University.

NOTE: This workshop is designed for, and open to, the general public, as well as educators.

 

Educators interested in attending AHA’s SUPER Teacher workshops can find links to application forms at alabamahumanities.org/super-teacher.

For questions or to learn more, contact Laura C. Anderson at [email protected].

 

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance
Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. AHA promotes impactful storytelling, lifelong learning and civic engagement. We provide Alabamians with opportunities to connect with our shared cultures and to see each other as fully human. Through our grantmaking, we help scholars, communities and cultural nonprofits create humanities-rich projects that are accessible to all Alabamians — from literary festivals and documentary films to museum exhibitions and research collections. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.

 

Alabama History Day winners head to nation’s capital

BIRMINGHAM / JUNE 7, 2023 — This month, 27 Alabama students and educators will travel to Maryland and Washington, D.C., to compete at National History Day. The NHD competition, set for June 11-15, enables students in grades 6-12 to conduct high-level research on a topic of their choice and present their studies in creative ways. The presentations include papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries, or websites. NHD winners can qualify for scholarships and some may even have their work displayed at the Smithsonian.

Who are these students representing Alabama in our nation’s capital?

Back in March, nearly 200 students from across Alabama gathered at Auburn University in Montgomery to compete in Alabama History Day, the statewide contest organized by the Alabama Humanities Alliance. More than 40 participating students won first- or second-place honors in their category to qualify for National History Day.

More than a single day, AHA’s History Day program offers year-long benefits. The program provides teachers with a dynamic project-based learning tool that can be built into their history curriculum. Teachers can also attend ongoing History Day training workshops and students can join in summer enrichment opportunities.

Even in the height of the pandemic, Alabama History Day still provided space for young scholars to develop. In 2022, 28 students won awards in a virtual statewide contest. In 2023, that number increased to 63 students who were awarded first, second, or third place. AHA’s History Day continues to set the stage for youth to grow beyond their current understanding of themselves and the world around them.

“Research helps you better connect to the world and your community,” says Idrissa Snider, Ph.D., program coordinator for Alabama History Day. “And it helps you learn more about yourself. When our students have these ‘aha moments,’ they’re building their confidence as learners, too.”

Indeed, History Day gives students preparation academically and interpersonally so that they can thrive as students, and eventually as professionals. “Whether a child wants to be a rocket scientist, teacher, or truck driver, they have to sit down and interview,” Snider says. “They must look confidently in the eyes of someone else and speak. The sooner kids start being able to speak in front of others, they become more prepared for the real world.”

For some students, National History Day marks the first time they’ll travel beyond their hometowns and earn recognition for their work. And several have already scored big honors in the nation’s capital:

“History Day illustrates how important it is to have young people from around the state, from all types of backgrounds, coming together in a space and putting their unique interests out there,” Sniders says. “We can learn to have different opinions, outlets, perspectives, or whatever the case may be. And we can respect others’ opinions and thoughts.”

 

Learn more about the impact of Alabama History Day by viewing our film Welcome to History Day. If you or someone you know would like to bring AHD to your school contact Idrissa N. Snider, Ph.D., at [email protected].

Poet and storyteller Tania De’Shawn Russell joins AHA staff

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. / May 9, 2023 — Tania De’Shawn Russell has joined the staff of the Alabama Humanities Alliance, where she’ll serve as the statewide nonprofit’s outreach and social media coordinator. Russell will help expand AHA’s reach, connect more Alabamians to the humanities, and highlight how the humanities can make Alabama a smarter, kinder, more vibrant place to live.

Russell is a Birmingham native and a graduate of Berea College in Kentucky. She has extensive social media and digital marketing experience, as well as a passion for how storytelling can transform lives and restore agency to marginalized communities. As a poet and teaching artist, Russell has been featured at the Magic City Poetry Festival, Birmingham Children’s Theatre, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. She has also served as a teaching assistant for PEN America’s Birmingham chapter, and as the artist in residence at The Flourish, Alabama.

“We all have gems of unsaid, unwritten, and sometimes undervalued stories to share,” Russell says. “No matter how silly, ordinary, or heavy, they all build different points of connection to people we may never meet. I am humbled to be a part of a community at AHA that fearlessly shares the stories so many would want us to forget. My love for storytelling continues to grow as I see the change so many of our scholars make by speaking about their firsthand experiences and latest research. I aim to ensure our entire community feels seen, supported, and valued.”

Earlier this year, the Magic City Poetry Festival named Russell its 2023 Eco-Poetry Fellow, an award that celebrates the intersections between poetry and the environment. As part of her fellowship, Russell will partner with the Birmingham Public Library to produce poetry events that uplift and enlighten the Birmingham community.

Russell’s partnership with the Birmingham Public Library isn’t new. In 2022, the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library received an Alabama Public Humanities Grant from AHA to present an event based on Russell’s first book, be gentle with black girls: addressing adultification bias and protecting black childhood. The evening included an author reading by Russell and a panel discussion centered around Black girls’ lived experiences.

“We talk a lot at AHA about how the humanities can provide context, cultivate empathy, and really help Alabamians see each other as fully human,” says Phillip Jordan, communications director at the Alabama Humanities Alliance. “Tania embodies those values to her core. She is committed to making the humanities accessible to all and to helping everyone realize that we’re all storytellers who can learn from each other. I’m thrilled that she’s joining us and will help us keep growing AHA’s diverse community of lifelong learners statewide.”

To connect with the Alabama Humanities Alliance, visit alabamahumanities.org, and join AHA’s virtual community on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

About the Alabama Humanities Alliance
Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. AHA promotes impactful storytelling, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We provide Alabamians with opportunities to connect with our shared cultures and to see each other as fully human. Through our grantmaking, we help scholars, communities, and cultural nonprofits create humanities-rich projects that are accessible to all Alabamians — from literary festivals and documentary films to museum exhibitions and research collections. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.