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The Black Belt Hall of Fame recognizes Flynt and Lee

Harper Lee and Flynt

Ms. Nelle Harper Lee and Dr. Wayne Flynt

The Black Belt Hall of Fame will honor two prominent figures in the region’s history on Friday, Jan. 29, at a luncheon and induction ceremony from noon-2 p.m. at the University of West Alabama’s Bell Conference Center.

Dr. Wayne Flynt and Ms. Nelle Harper Lee will be honored at the ceremony. Both inductees have devoted their life’s work to the Black Belt region and Alabama, both for its advancement and preservation.

The Black Belt Hall of Fame, a program of the Center for the Study of the Black Belt, seeks to recognize and honor those associated with the Black Belt who have had a positive impact on the region, the state, the nation, and the world through contributions in art, business, education, industry, medicine, politics, and science.

“In both literature and history classes around the nation, the works of Harper Lee and Wayne Flynt influence the thoughts of others. They are both truly ambassadors for Alabama’s Black Belt, and we are thrilled that they will be inducted in the same class,” said Dr. Tina Naremore Jones, Executive Director of the Division of Economic Development and Outreach said. “This will be a special occasion honoring the rich legacy of both individuals.”

Dr. Wayne Flynt: Flynt’s contributions to teaching, writing, and advocacy have made a demonstrated impact on the Black Belt region and Alabama. Born on Oct. 4, 1940, in Pontotoc, Miss., Flynt attended Howard College and received an MS and PhD from Florida State University. After teaching at Samford University for 12 years, he joined the faculty at Auburn University where he remained for 28 years and became a distinguished University Professor Emeritus. Author or co-author of twelve books, including Alabama in the Twentieth Century; Alabama Baptists; Dixie’s Forgotten People, and a memoir, Keeping the Faith, Flynt was the first editor of the Encyclopedia of Alabama and the initial co-editor of the University of Alabama Press series, “Religion and American Culture.” His numerous awards include the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing, two James F. Sulzby Book Awards, two Alabama Library Association Awards, the Judson-Rice Award by “Baptist Today,” and induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor.

Nelle Harper Lee: Born in Monroeville, Ala. on April 28, 1926, Lee has had a major literary impact on America and the world. Lee attended Huntingdon College and the University of Alabama. She then left the state to pursue a literary career in New York. In 1960, the masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published. The novel for which she received the Pulitzer Prize has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Set on the southern edge of Alabama’s Black Belt, the novel contains insightful portrayals of the various levels of society in the 1930s. Lee’s fiction has contributed to the conversation about race and tolerance, hope and family in American society for over half a century. She has written several short stories and essays devoted to Alabama history such as “Christmas to Me.” In 2015, Lee’s much anticipated, Go Set a Watchman was published. For her literary efforts, she has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts.

For ticketing information, please contact Amy Christiansen, Archivist for the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at (205) 652-3655 or achristiansen@uwa.edu. Tickets for the ceremony and luncheon are $15. Reservations should be made by Monday, Jan. 25.

2016 Career Exploration Summer Camp application

COVER application Career Exploration Summer Camp 2016)

The Division of Economic Development and Outreach at The University of West Alabama is now accepting applications for the 2016 Career Exploration Summer Camp. The on-campus residential camp is for rising sophomore and junior high school students. The program will be held June 11-22, 2016. The application deadline is Monday, February 1, 2016.

The purpose of the CESC Program is to offer students the ability to explore career options and prepare for college through interactive and engaging hands-on activities, field trips and presentations. The CESC Program, sponsored by the Delta Regional Authority, is open to students attending high schools in Choctaw, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Pickens and Sumter counties. The CESC is an extremely intense and structured learning opportunity for youth in the secondary school systems of Alabama.

The curriculum offers students a thorough look into current and emerging career fields, highlights of the knowledge and skills needed for each career, essential information on projected employment— where the jobs are and will continue to grow, and steps that students can take now, while in high school, to prepare for the future. In addition, students will participate in standardized applicant test preparation courses, business etiquette, computer training, academic enhancement activities, field trips and hands-on projects.

Approximately 22 students from grades 10-11 will be accepted to participate in the free 11-day summer program. Scholarships will include the following:

• All program costs/room fees
• Workshops/Handouts
• Room and Board
• Facility Usage
• Equipment/Supplies
• Travel (Field Trips)
• Lab Fees
• Speakers
The CESC is a competitive selection process program limited to 12 male and 12 female students. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Parents are encouraged to participate in the application process. Guidance counselors may identify applicants to the CESC Program and assist them with completing the forms in the enclosed application package.

For more information, please contact Sanquenetta Thompson at (205) 652-3408, sthompson@uwa.edu or call UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach at (205) 652-3828.

Approximately 22 students from grades 10-11 will be accepted to participate in the free 10-day summer program.

Click HERE to download the application.

Quilt blocks unveiled in Sumter County for the Black Belt Quilt Trail

Sumter County unveiled the first four quilt blocks completed for the Black Belt Quilt Trail on Thursday, December 3rd at 2 p.m.

The Black Belt Quilt Trail is Alabama’s first  multi-county quilt trail that includes sites in all nineteen counties served by the Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center. The Trail serves as an economic development and tourism opportunity highlighting historic and contemporary quilts, along with sites, artists, organizations, and individuals sharing their storied through the creation of their own publicly displayed quilt block artwork. Quilt blocks can be made of several different mediums such as wood and glass, each quilt block must look like an actual quilt but tell a story. Stories can relate to the location of the quilt block, a family, a business, organizations, and individuals. For more information on the Black Belt Quilt Trail, please contact Amy Christiansen, (205) 652-3655 or Kristin Law, (334) 682-9878.
3 quilts togetherlinda finished quilt

The first four quilt blocks in Sumter County are located in Livingston and Cuba. Three quilt blocks are on the University of West Alabama’s campus at the Black Belt Museum, the Black Belt Garden, and the Black Belt Prairie. The other quilt block is at Linda and Charlie Munoz’s home in Cuba. All quilt blocks will be available for public viewing by the end of January.

To see more photographs from the unveiling, click here.Group shot

Sumter County’s Black Belt Quilt Trail Unveiling

Quilt Unveiling Flyer To PRINT 11-16-15The Black Belt Quilt Trail is Alabama’s first multi-county quilt trail that includes sites in all nineteen counties served by the Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center. The Trail serves as an economic development and tourism opportunity highlighting historic and contemporary quilts, along with sites, artists, organizations, and individuals sharing their stories through the creation of their own publically displayed quilt block artwork.

Click here for information flyer.

Places In Peril nominations now accepted

PIP Logo 2015 SquareIs there an irreplaceable historic building or site in your area that is highly threatened by demolition or neglect? This is your opportunity to help save it! Places in Peril, a program of the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, annually recognizes Alabama’s most endangered historic resources. Each submission is to be evaluated for its significance and threat.

To submit your nominee, please compete the nomination form by clicking here.

Black Belt Museum launches “The Secrets of the Black Belt” window exhibit

Emily Boersma, standing, and Amy Christiansen make final adjustments to a spinning wheel and quilt in the Black Belt Museum display window.

Emily Boersma, standing, and Amy Christiansen make final adjustments to a spinning wheel and quilt in the Black Belt Museum display window.

The University of West Alabama’s Black Belt Museum has launched its new window exhibit series in downtown Livingston.

Located just north of the Sumter County Courthouse Square and across the street from the Bored Well, the Black Belt Museum is an emerging regional museum currently under construction. The building was once home to Sumter County’s McMillan Bank.

The first floor of the building is anticipated to open by the Summer 2016. The mission of the Museum is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the landscape and rich history of the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi.

Brian Mast, standing, and James Lamb place the mosasaur skull at Black Belt Museum window display.

Brian Mast, standing, and James Lamb place the mosasaur skull at Black Belt Museum window display.

“The rotating window exhibit will be a way for the public to engage with the Museum as we work towards opening,” said Dr. Tina Jones, executive director of UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach where the Museum is housed.

The first window exhibit, The Secrets of the Black Belt showcases photographs, textiles, and artifacts from the collections of the Black Belt Museum and the Black Belt Archives representing the history, culture, natural history, folklife, and industry

of the people in the Black Belt region of Alabama. Featured items showcase each unique aspect of our region, individuals can gaze through the window to see a cross section of life, past and present.

“We wanted this first window exhibit to portray the life and heritage of the people in the Black Belt and display a broad range of the Black Belt’s history, including the mosasaur jaw from the Cretaceous period, the end of the Age of the Dinosaur. If you came to the Science Saturday’s Jurassic World event, you got a look at a complete mosasaur skull! ” said paleontologist James Lamb.

The exhibit will be on display through December 15. The Black Belt Museum expresses its appreciation to its co-sponsor, Black Belt Archives and Archivist Amy

Brian Mast, foreground, and James Lamb prepare the Black Belt Museum window display.

Brian Mast, foreground, and James Lamb prepare the Black Belt Museum window display.

Christiansen, Archaeologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dr. Ashley Dumas, AmeriCorps VISTA Emily Boersma and Public Relations Specialist Gena Robbins for their knowledge and creation of the exhibition banners along with the greater staff from the Division of Economic Development and Outreach on UWA’s campus.

For more information on the exhibit or the Black Belt Museum, contact James Lamb at (205) 652-3725/jlamb@uwa.edu or Brian Mast at (205) 652-5528/bmast@uwa.edu. Find the Black Belt Museum on Facebook and use #blackbeltmuseum on Instagram and Twitter.

Pursue Sustainability newsletter

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A Newsletter of the Black Belt Conservation Research Institute

Click below to view the publication.

April 2015

Historic Black Belt Museum building offers unique consolation prize

A Museum console that had been exposed to over a century of weather is restored.

Click here to view the Power Point picture story.

Consolation Prize web launch pic

James Lamb and Tim Truelove with the restored Black Belt Museum console.

Black Belt Symposium: Clash of Empires

Symposium Handbill 2-2015 Proof 3

Register here to attend the Black Belt Symposium.

© 2016 Center for the Study of the Black Belt