Sucarnochee Folklife Festival set for April 21

The Sucarnochee Folklife Festival (SFF) celebrates fourteen years of the unique life ways of Alabama’s Black Belt on Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sumter County, Alabama Courthouse Square.

The Festival joins the Alabama Tourism Department’s theme, ALABAMA 200, the birthday celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial. For three years, from March 3, 2017, to December 14, 2019, ALABAMA 200 will celebrate the people, places, and stories that make the state unique.  The event schedule for commemoration of Alabama’s statehood is 2017: Places, 2018: People, and 2019: Stories.

“Birthdays are fun and we are excited to celebrate the bicentennial’s second year of focus on Alabama people,” said UWA’s Executive Director of Economic Development and Outreach Dr. Tina Naremore Jones.

“The Festival favorites are slated for all to enjoy, including the popular Blue Ribbon Contests,” said Jones. The competition ties back to the original goal of the festival and why it began- as a way to teach people about traditions and customs of the Black Belt region and keep them alive for future generations.”

Bragging rights for Blue Ribbon Contests participants this year are the Cornbread Cook-off including the categories of best traditional cornbread, best specialty cornbread and original main dish recipe using cornbread. Also up for grabs is the Home Canning Competition including the categories of pickles, BBQ sauce, preserves, jelly, and specialty pickled item.

Festival attendees are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket and enjoy the “Sucarnochee Live,” a stage show of local talent hosted by Danny Buckalew and Danielle Buckalew. Family enjoyment is offered to those of all ages as music, food, storytelling, art, and much more are shared throughout the day.

Event sponsors include The University of West Alabama, Black Belt Museum, UWA Fine Arts Department, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alabama Department of Tourism, City of Livingston and the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the Sucarnochee Folklife Festival, please call (205) 652-3828, email centerforblackbelt@uwa.edu or grobbins@uwa.edu.

Click on a Festival form below to download.

Food and Arts & Crafts Vendor Application Form

Cornbread Cook-off

Home Canning

Pie Baking Contest

UWA Career Exploration Summer Camp now accepting student applications

2018 Application Career Exploration Summer Camp cover webThe University of West Alabama’s (UWA) Division of Economic Development and Outreach is now accepting applications for the 2018 Career Exploration Summer Camp (CESC). All applications must be received or postmarked by Thursday, Feb. 15.

There will be with two sessions, June 17-22 (Camp One) and June 24-29 (Camp Two), for rising high school sophomore and junior students.

The residential program, held on the UWA campus, offers 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 Daniel Foundation, is open to students attending public and private secondary schools located in Choctaw, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Pickens and Sumter Counties .

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.

“Camp selection is competitive and space is limited,” said Program Coordinator Sanquenetta Thompson. “Exposure to career opportunities is important in making long-term educational decisions. The CESC is an intense and structured learning opportunity for youth in Alabama’s Black Belt region.”

Approximately 20 students from grades 10-11 will be accepted to participate in the 5-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 10 male and 10 female students per camp from eligible counties. 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. To download an application package, click here.
Applications may also be obtained by contacting Sanquenetta Thompson at (205) 652-3408, sthompson@uwa.edu or call UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach at (205) 652-3828. Completed applications can be returned via email or mail at UWA Station 45, Livingston, AL 35470.


Cottage Food Law food safety course registration now open

Do you have a great family recipe or a great idea that you would like to get into the food market. There are several requirements that you will need to complete prior to starting your food business.

In 2014, the Alabama Legislature enacted a law that allows consumers to sell non-hazardous foods from their home to the end consumer. As part of the law, the individuals who wish to sell these products are required to complete a Food Safety Course especially designed for the cottage foods industry.

Click on the following links for class information and registration:

  1. Cottage Food Law Food Safety Course Mulit-County Class Schedule
  2. ServSafe ACES Information Flyer
  3. ServSafe Class Registration Form

REGISTER ONLINE AT www.aces.edu/foodsafety

Fall into Folklife Symposium and Expo Comes to Livingston

fall into folklife logoNovember 17, 3:00 p.m.-November 18, 3:00 p.m., 2017. The Alabama Folklife Association (AFA), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to the documentation, preservation, and promotion of traditional culture will hold their annual meeting at the University of West Alabama (UWA) in Livingston. To take place in Lyon Hall, the Symposium and Expo will provide opportunities to meet and learn from the many individuals and organizations contributing to the field of folklore in Alabama.

Fall into Folklife 2017 (FIF2017) is made possible through the significant contributions of the host and institutional partner, the Division of Economic Development and Outreach (DEDO), UWA. Tina Naremore Jones, Executive Director of DEDO, commented, “The Alabama Folklife Association is a perfect partner to the missions of UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt and Black Belt Museum. We look forward to sharing our resources for both scholars and folklore enthusiasts, while also introducing newcomers to the field. Folkways impacts our lives daily from the way we dress, eat and entertain. This is a great opportunity for individuals to make these connections to their own lives.”

Sponsored by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the FREE Symposium on Friday and Saturday will include a variety of educational sessions highlighting accomplishments across the state in the areas of storytelling, metal arts, Native American folkways, arts-based entrepreneurship, and rural landscape documentation. During the ticketed dinner event on Friday night, a gospel quartet concert will present an honored and well-noted a cappella singing tradition from Alabama. The talents of our state will be weaved into the sessions and showcased in the hallways of the conference center where artists will display and sell their works on Saturday. Participants and any visitors can take time to shop and support local artists. FREE local tours on Saturday afternoon will finalize the gathering and demonstrate the contributions of the Center for the Study of the Black Belt, UWA through their many facets of work both on campus and in the local community.

According to AFA Executive Director, Mary Allison Haynie, “Nothing captures the remarkable heritage of Alabama like our folkways; the stories, the sounds, and the masters of basketry, quilting, pottery, and other traditions are recognized worldwide. The cultural resources of the Black Belt have influenced and propelled the field of folklore, so holding this event in Livingston is a natural fit.”

To register for the symposium and tours or purchase tickets to the dinner and concert, go to Eventbrite. For more extensive information and links, please click here to visit the AFA web site page. Both of these pages can be reached on the right side of the AFA home page, www.alabamafolklife.org.

Additional funding for Fall into Folklife provided by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the Alabama “Support the Arts” Car Tag Program

For additional information, contact Executive Director Mary Allison Haynie, Alabama Folklife Association, at 205-956-9888 or email alabamafolklife@att.net.


Free Certified Nursing Assistant Program at UWA now accepting applications

Certified Nursing Assistant Program students at The University of Alabama are pictured (l to r), back row: Tiffany Jackson, Tara McShan, Aquavious Dent, Kierra Hudson, Seanique Noble, and Labrashia Jackson with instructor Katie Smith; front row: Eryson Crockett, Monetrius Tensley, and Sherrion Ward

Certified Nursing Assistant Program students at The University of West Alabama are pictured (l to r), back row: Tiffany Jackson, Tara McShan, Aquavious Dent, Kierra Hudson, Seanique Noble, and Labrashia Jackson with instructor Katie Smith; front row: Eryson Crockett, Monetrius Tensley, and Sherrion Ward

The University of West Alabama’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach received funding to host their Career Pathways for Youth and Adult: Certified Nursing

Please click here for an application packet which contains program guidelines.

“I loved this program,” said Kierra Hudson, a Perry County resident and participant in UWA’s CNA program. “This program helped me much more than just allowing me to earn CPR certification and a CNA certificate. It showed me I can make my dreams come true. It also showed me I have more potential than I give myself credit for. This is a really good program and I advise anyone to just give it a try.”

Participants who complete the program will be qualified to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment, which certifies individuals to work as nursing assistants in nursing homes, group homes, hospitals and other health care facilities. 23 participants from Greene, Marengo, Sumter, and Perry counties have completed the program are several are already working in entry-level health care positions in West Alabama.

In addition, participants will take the ACT WorkKeys assessment to obtain National Career Readiness Certification as well as receive their CPR certification and training in essential job readiness skills such as communication and financial literacy.

“There is a demand for qualified CNAs in our region and the state of Alabama,” said Dr. Tina Jones, Executive Director of UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach. “We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with UWA’s Division of Nursing with this program. Their facilities combined with quality teaching will provide our participants with a great opportunity to receive hands-on instruction in a real world environment.”

This free program is possible through funding made available to the State of Alabama from the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The grantor is the U.S. Department of Labor and the program is administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce, Workforce Development Division, AWDA Section.

Interested individuals should pick up an application and eligibility requirements at the Division of Economic Development and Outreach office located at the University of West Alabama, Kelly Land Hall, or go to www.centerforblackbelt.org to download an application. To inquire by phone, call (205) 652-3828 or email centerforblackbelt@uwa.edu.


Alignment Fundamentals and Vehicle Vibrations class offered at UWA

The University of West Alabama (UWA) is offering an Automotive Technology class in Alignment Fundamentals and Vehicle Vibrations on July 22 and July 29.  Sponsored by UWA’s College of Business and Technology, and the Division of Economic Development and Outreach, the Saturday class is limited to 10 students and will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hunt Annex on the UWA campus.

Topics covered in the four-wheel alignment class include alignment theory, equipment operation and OEM adjustment methods. The class will use Hunter Engineering Company equipment.

Class learning objects include the ability to describe camber, caster, toe and thrust angle and the related effects these angles have on tire wear and vehicle handling. Students will also perform proper pre-alignment inspection of the suspension and steering systems, set up the Hunter aligner and accurately measure the adjustable angles and perform a four-wheel alignment using the most OEM adjustment methods found on today’s vehicles using SLA and strut suspension systems.

Vehicle Service Technicians are encouraged to attend the class and previous automotive experience is required.

The course fee is $400 per student.  The class is limited to 10 students, so register now to ensure your seat. 

Registration deadline is July 17, 2017.

For more information on the Automotive Technology Class, please call contact Curtis Jones at (205) 652-5451 or email cjjones@uwa.edu.

Click below to download the information flyer and registration form.

Information Flyer

Registration Form

Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and Alabama Historical Commission announce 2017 Places in Peril

PIP logo double ATHP and AHCIn the two centuries since the Alabama Territory was established in August 1817, countless agricultural, industrial, educational and recreational structures have been built here. Many of those farms, factories, schools and parks—especially the earliest examples—have succumbed to wind, rain, fire or functional obsolescence. Few farmsteads that started in Alabama’s territorial period survive. Much of Birmingham’s early 20th century industrial architecture has been neglected or demolished. Outmoded railroad stations and maintenance facilities now stand derelict. Scores of Mid-Century Modern Equalization Schools have been abandoned. “Whites Only” public park facilities are a thing of the past.

Still, traces of the material culture of earlier times persist in our state’s built environment, although much of the historic architecture that survives is in poor condition and some needs urgent attention lest the hand of time erase it from Alabama’s landscape. Such is the status of the five special places in peril recognized this year by the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and the Alabama Historical Commission:

  • Overton Farm, Hodges, Franklin County
  • Chilton County Training School, Clanton, Chilton County
  • Fort Davis Railroad Depot, Fort Davis, Macon County
  • Finley Roundhouse, Birmingham, Jefferson County
  • Henderson Park Recreation Center, Tuskegee, Macon County

For more information on the 2017 Places in Peril, please contact alabamatrust@athp.org or call (205) 652-3497.

Click here to view 2017 Alabama’s Places In Peril listing.

UWA receives multi-year grant to focus on rural health


The University of West Alabama recently received a two-year $730,000 Delta Healthcare Services Grant to implement the West Alabama Rural Health Initiative (WARHI). The purpose of the West Alabama Rural Health Initiative (WARHI) is to facilitate a partnership with local healthcare entities, outreach programs, andeducational institutions that develop
the healthcare career pipeline in West Alabama.

The WARHI team includes five key players who will guide the success of the program.

UWA’s Tina Jones, executive director of the Division of Economic Development and Outreach, and Veronica Triplett, director for the Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Services, are WARHI’s co-directors. They will oversee the operations of the program, from supervising research, training, and reporting, to implementing activities, and developing partnerships.
“WARHI will allow us to build on partnerships that have a proven track record,” said Jones.
West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center (AHEC)’s D’Aviance Harris and Earl Johnson will serve as regional coordinators of the WARHI Scholars Program and Rural Health Immersion Program respectively. Harris will oversee regional field trips, summer programs, and implementation activities. Johnson will oversee the recruitment, selection, and implementation of a one-week residential program that targets medical students who have completed their first year.
“We are extremely excited to be a collaborator in the WARHI partnership. This program will allow us to identify and cultivate students who have the potential, ability, and passion for rural health care,” said Regina Knox, Executive Director of the West Central Alabama AHEC.
The West Central Alabama AHEC’s primary mission is to stimulate regional economies of the counties served by increasing the number of individuals who enter healthcare programs that come from West Alabama, have an interest in training in rural areas, and ultimately obtain healthcare jobs in rural West Alabama communities.
The Tombigbee Healthcare Authority will offer health education and health care services to residents within the six counties the project is targeting. Alex Moore will serve as the program manager for the H-COW program. The H-COW is a mobile clinic that provides immediate care to individuals in rural areas who cannot pay and/or access healthcare.
According to Moore, the staffed H-COW will travel to several locations within each of the six counties to educate and serve patients. The H-COW is equipped with two complete exam rooms, a small lab, intake area, and Satellite Boosted Internet and Telemedicine.
This partnership will support local healthcare developments as well as initiate programs that encourage the development of leadership skills and attract local students into health professional education programs, work in the region, select clinical rotations in the region and provide much-needed services to the underserved communities within West Alabama.
The 2-year program will consist of establishing experiential education programs for students entering the 10th grade that promote healthcare careers in Choctaw, Marengo, and Sumter Counties. The program will also train 24 adults to become CNA’s. The summer programs and H-COW services will also additionally serve Greene, Hale, and Perry Counties. Activities will include 1.) regional field trips and events with 45 high school students to explore local and regional healthcare centers and local healthcare career options, 2.) a 1-week summer health leadership program for 10th grade students; 3.) a 1-week rural health immersion program for first year medical students, and 4.) healthcare screening services within the WARHI service area.
Funding is provided through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Cooperative Services. The purpose of the Delta Healthcare Services program is to provide financial assistance to address the continued unmet health needs in the Delta Region through cooperation among health care professionals, institutions of higher education, research institutions and economic development entities in the Delta Region.
For more information about this program, contact Jones or Triplett at tnj@uwa.edu or vtriplett@uwa.edu.  To reach by phone, call Division of Economic Development and Outreach at (205) 652-3828.
Click here to view the Health Care On Wheels 2017 travel schedule
Click here to download the West Alabama Rural Health Initiative Scholars Application


Algae Solution Clean-up at UWA Duck Pond

Algae Clean up 3The Historic Covered Bridge that spans the Duck Pond in the middle of the University of West Alabama campus finds itself the subject of many photographs. However, what do you do, when that picturesque space becomes overrun with algae?

One solution is to dump herbicides to take care of the problem. While that will take care of the problem, it also runs the risk through runoff of harming beneficial plants such as cattails and burr marigolds, and other plants in the adjoining Black Belt Garden.
That solution was not acceptable to the staff of UWA’s Black Belt Museum. They joined forces with Department of Biological Sciences & Environmental Sciences, Beta Beta Beta Honor Society and UWA’s Physical Plant to look for an environmental friendly solution.

“We wanted a solution that cleaned up the area and also provided a learning opportunity for our students,” said Mr. James Lamb, Director of the Black Belt Museum.algae clean up 2

According to Lamb, the algae problem stems from the warm winters experienced by our region over the last few years. “Instead of dying back as it is supposed to do in the winter,” Lamb said, “the algae have continued to spread, covering the pond in an algae blanket.”
Through team work, students, professors and professional staff of UWA, are literally pumping the algae from the Duck Pond, logging their findings, and reusing the collected algae as an organic fertilizer for the Black Belt Garden. The problem has now become a benefactor to another area of campus.

So far, more than 800 pounds of algae have been collected, and the Duck Pond and Covered Bridge are being readied for many more picture perfect moments.

algae clean up 1Housed within the Division of Economic Development and Outreach the Black Belt Museum provides a crossroads between the University and the community –a way for students to anchor academic pursuits within their immediate surroundings and to hone these pursuits toward the betterment of our region. Its mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and celebrate the landscape and rich history of the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi.

To learn more about the Black Belt Museum and its programs, contact Lamb at jlamb@uwa.edu and like the Black Belt Museum on Facebook.


You’re Invited to Fort Tombecbe Community Day

Free Event –Saturday, April 22, 2017 –10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community Day 2017 WEB

Join the staff of the Black Belt Museum and volunteers from the Alabama Archaeological Society at the 18th-century site of Fort Tombecbe. Unveiling of interpretive panels and guided tour of the site at 10:30.




© 2018 Center for the Study of the Black Belt