- Genealogy Through the Ages Conference at UWA
- Black Belt Museum launches “The Secrets of the Black Belt” window exhibit
- Pursue Sustainability newsletter
- Historic Black Belt Museum building offers unique consolation prize
- Black Belt Symposium: Clash of Empires
Genealogy Through the Ages Conference at UWA
The University of West Alabama’s Black Belt Archives and the Marengo County History and Archives Museum in Demopolis announce the second annual Black Belt genealogy conference titled, Genealogy through the Ages, on October 1-3. The conference is supported by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“In celebration of the American Archives and Family History month during October, Genealogy through the Ages will be a conference dedicated to discussing the local resources accessible to people researching their ancestors in the Black Belt region in west Alabama and east Mississippi,” said Mary Jones-Fitts, President of the Marengo County History and Archives Museum.
Co-sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the conference will include a keynote address by Dr. Donna Cox Baker, co-chair for the Statewide Initiatives Committee of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and a special session on military records by Robert Davis, director of the Genealogy Program of Wallace State Community College. The other speakers and panels will discuss a wide range of available research modes for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced genealogist such as DNA research, church records, family storytelling, online family history sites, and university archives.
Amy Christiansen, Black Belt archivist said, “We hope the conference will address going beyond the standard methods of genealogy and promote newer modes of research like looking through military and church records.”
Genealogy through the Ages will begin on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. with open registration and a presentation by Dr. Alan Brown, Professor of English at UWA, on his new photographic book, Sumter County at 5:30 p.m. followed by a dinner and storytelling by Deborah Rankins Tunstall, Assistant Director of Library Services at the Kathryn Tucker Windham Library Museum, from 6-8 p.m. Actual conference events will kick-off at 9:15 a.m. on Oct 2 & 3. The conference closes with a panel session titled, “Church Records: Born, Married, Died & Buried” from 1-2:30 p.m. and then a tour of downtown Livingston historic churches from 2:30-4 p.m.
The registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 25 and Conference session will be held at the Bell Conference Center on the University of West Alabama’s campus in Livingston.
For more information on the Genealogy through the Ages conference, contact Amy Christiansen at (205) firstname.lastname@example.org or Mary Jones-Fitts at (334) email@example.com or visit http://centerforblackbelt.org for the flyer and registration form.
Please click below for related information flyer and registration form.
Black Belt Museum launches “The Secrets of the Black Belt” window exhibit
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.
“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
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) firstname.lastname@example.org or Brian Mast at (205) email@example.com. Find the Black Belt Museum on Facebook and use #blackbeltmuseum on Instagram and Twitter.
Pursue Sustainability newsletter
A Newsletter of the Black Belt Conservation Research Institute
Click below to view the publication.
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.
Black Belt Symposium: Clash of Empires
Register here to attend the Black Belt Symposium.
Fitts, Huffman and Thurn join the Black Belt Hall of Fame
The induction ceremony and luncheon honoring Dr. Alston Fitts, III, the late Judge Rufus C. Huffman, Sr. and the late Richard L. Thurn is Friday, Jan. 30, from noon-2 p.m. at the University of West Alabama’s Bell Conference Center. Click here for more information.
The Black Belt Connection
The Black Belt Connection September/October 2014 newsletter, along with newsletter archives, are available here.
Alabama’s 2014 Places in Peril announced
Alabama’s Most Endangered Sites for 2014
Urgent Action Is Needed to Save Important Historic and Architecturally Significant Sites
Some of Alabama’s greatest places of historical and architectural significance are at risk! Neglect, redevelopment pressures, and disregard for the importance of historic preservation threaten to rob Alabamians of distinctive buildings and their settings, depriving citizens and visitors of irreplaceable elements of the state’s cultural heritage.
Each year since 1994, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation have published a list of the state’s most endangered historic places in an effort to publicize the urgent need for action to save important private homes, public buildings, bridges, and other parts of the built environment. Over those two decades, many structures have been saved, but many others have been lost. In fact, this year’s list includes two places that have been listed before—one that continues to languish in neglect, worse for the wear and tear of intervening years, and one that has benefitted from recent restoration but now needs a new steward.
The 2014 list of Alabama Places in Peril includes two public buildings, a grand antebellum home and a modest twentieth-century bungalow, an old mill complex, and one of the best-known streetscapes in the state.
• Old Tuscaloosa County Jail, 2803 Sixth Street, Tuscaloosa, circa 1856, William B. Robertson, arch.
• Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Birmingham Branch, 1801 Fifth Ave., N., Birmingham, 1926-7, Warren, Knight & Davis, arch., J. Krebs, builder; addition 1958-9
• Winter Place, 454 S. Goldthwaite St., Montgomery, ca. 1850 w/1870s addition
• Amelia and Samuel Boynton House, 1315 Lapsley Street, Selma, ca. 1935
• Pearce’s Mill, Hamilton vicinity, ca. 1840-1940
• North Eufaula Avenue Parkway, Eufaula, mid-19th century to the present, multiple architects, landscape architects, and horitculturists, many unknown
For information about Places in Peril, and to help with their preservation, please contact the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation by mail at Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, UWA Station 45, Livingston, AL, 35470, call (205) 652-3497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website at www.alabamatrust.info.
The Places in Peril list carries no formal protection, but it does build awareness in local communities about endangered sites, and can help generate support to preserve these places.
Campbell Environmental Educational Center dedicated March 18
The Campbell Environmental Education Center (CEEC) at the University of West Alabama was dedicated on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. on the Livingston campus.
The Campbell Environmental Education Center is home to offices of the Division of Educational Outreach’s Black Belt Museum and Black Belt Garden. In addition, an educational classroom and community meeting room (which is rentable to the public) are located in the building.
The former Campbell-Strickland House was built in southwest Sumter County in 1900 by Robert Campbell and Susan Alice Gully, and housed a family of eleven, including eight children and a local school teacher.
The house is divided into three sections, the left of which held (from back to front) a kitchen, a dining room, the teacher’s quarters, and Mrs. Campbell’s sun parlor where she painted and displayed her artwork. The front porch now extends across the entire length of the front of the house, replacing the sun parlor. However, the original windows that divided the sun parlor from the front room remain. These unusual windows recede into the attic space allowing them to be used as doorways.
The middle section of the house consisted of two large bedrooms that housed the five daughters of the family—Alice, Laura, Betty, Justina, and Sarah—while the right section of the house also consisted of two large bedrooms, the front one being for the family’s three boys (Bob, Slocum, and Wayne) and the back one being for Robert and Susan.
The house, with its white and green paint scheme, looks much like it did when first built. The sun parlor, which was added later, was too badly deteriorated to move. Stairs came off of the front porch in front of each breezeway. Paths from the stairways met at the gate of a long picket fence. The bed that was created by the front porch and pathways was filled with rose bushes and daffodils while the backyard was shaded by pecan trees. The Campbell’s ran a general store, situated nearby, along a road that ran in front of the house.
The house was donated in 2009 to the University by owners Larry and Crystal Strickland of York.
For information on the Campbell Environmental Education Center, please contact UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt in the Division of Educational Outreach at (205) 652-3828.
Craft of twining explored in Moore’s book
Twined Bags: An Historical Finger-Weaving Craft of Native Americans contains 84 photos and illustrations. Over 9,000 years old, the craft of twining, according to archeological findings was once utilitarian. Be a part of the generation that is helping to keep this tradition alive. Easy-to-follow instructions, helpful hints and suggestions will enable you to learn the simple weaving technique known as twining.
Monica Moore is a living historian who practices the Native American skills of making twined bags and deer toe leggings shakers, for traditional stomp dancing. She is also the executive secretary at the University of West Alabama’s Division of Educational Outreach. For more information or to purchase a book, contact Moore at 205-366-2275, email@example.com, and visit her website at www.twinedbags.com.
A review of Twined Bags: An Historical Finger-Weaving Craft of Native Americans by Vincent Spiotti of Muzzleloader magazine can be viewed here.