Engaging the Racial Landscape at the University of Alabama
The University of Alabama pierced the national consciousness when Vivian Malone and James Hood swept past Governor George Wallace and through the unassuming ground-floor portal of Foster Auditorium in 1963 to register as the school’s first African American students.1 However, focusing only on that one iconic moment, the frozen image of Wallace’s last stand, not only distracts from the significant victory won by Malone and Hood but also neglects the long institutional history that preceded that day. Since the school opened in 1831, the University of Alabama has been a place supported and defined by race and exclusion—and the contested presence—of African Americans. Slaves owned by the university and granted to individual professors upon their arrival rest in the vicinity of a small graveyard next to the Biology Building, finally acknowledged in an apology by the Faculty Senate in 2004. “Rented slaves” constructed university buildings, including the Little Round House, the octagonal munitions building guarded by Confederate officers in training on the campus during the Civil War. Confederate markers adorn the front steps of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Main Library. As elsewhere, the naming of buildings is fraught. Nott Hall, for example, is named for Alabama physician Josiah Nott, one of the primary slavery era proponents of polygenesis, who led the development of the Medical College of Alabama.2 The evidence of slavery inscribed on the landscape of the university provides a significant site for launching a critical exploration of political struggle—in the past and over the past—embodied in the places students pass casually on the way to class.
As two professors who teach and write about race on the university’s campus, we suggest multiple avenues of inquiry and clarification of the university’s history and the nature of its current engagement with race. Our insistence is upon understanding the complex continuity between narratives of implication in slavery and slaveholding and twentieth-century university practices of racial exclusion. Place-based pedagogies are rich in opportunities to let students discover the hidden transcript of race absence and presence. In the larger national project of sorting out the relationship between the emergence of U.S. higher education and the system of slavery, the Alabama story is an important one in its physical embodiment and symbolic entangling of black human capacity, social resistance, and cultural performance of the ever-evolving racial order.
The renovation in 2010 of Foster Auditorium, where Alabama governor George Wallace stood in an attempt to block desegregation in 1963, as the women’s basketball gym reopened the conversation about race and university history, making freshly evident the rich educational landscape that the campus provides. Universities and colleges that are either tentatively or boldly tackling their institutional histories of involvement with slavery are doing so in multiple ways using the standard academic tools of scholarly research and publishing and of curriculum and course development. Others are extending the scholarly mission into the life of the university community by establishing dialogue groups, such as the Crossroads Community Center’s Sustained Dialogue Project.3 Others are expanding the educational mission into activist projects carried out by scholars, mobilizing faculty and students, pressing administrators and trustees to extend apologies to the descendants of enslaved persons, such as the 2004 movement steered by law professor Al Brophy and others at the University of Alabama.4 Still others pushed for the renaming of buildings once christened for owners of slaves or staunch segregationists, such as the campaign undertaken at the University of Texas at Austin in 2010.5
All of these approaches are intertwined: research is essential to designing curriculum; dialogue is necessary to creating openness and political will; activism emerging from that research and conversation is critical to institutional recognition and change. Unearthing institutional ties to slavery undergirds each of these strategies. This work links memory and landscape, with the recognition that all history takes place in space.
Rooted in the work of critical spatial theorists such as Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey, Doreen Massey, and Edward Soja, this approach also draws on the scholarship of critical pedagogy of place, in which historical memory, place, and pedagogy are interwoven.6 David Gruenewald, a leading scholar in this field, suggests that a critical pedagogy necessitates both “decolonization,” that is, “learning to recognize [both] disruption and injury and to address their causes,” and “rehabitation,” that is, “learning to live well socially and ecologically in places that have been disrupted and injured.”7 Making these disruptions visible through rereading the landscape serves the aim of decolonization; identifying new ways of inhabiting these spaces promotes rehabitation, justice, and healing.
A blend of landscape studies and critical studies of race aids in exploring the visible and invisible racial ecologies on the campus. In doing so, we are hoping to link a reenvisioned environmental education, which often lacks a critical edge, with the study of racial histories of place. This process of reframing the racial ecology of the American landscape has a long history rooted in abolitionist writing of the slavery period. The abolitionists’ project, as described by literary historian Ian Finseth, involved, in part, a conversation about nature and rights, a basic argument about the humanity of persons of African descent. The failure to legally vest African Americans with the unalienable rights celebrated at independence was the inherent contradiction at the nation’s founding, based in a conception of nature that argued for separate origins of “races.” The antislavery advocates argued, however inconsistently, against received notions that naturalized racial hierarchies. “Inevitably,” Finseth argues, “what it means to be ‘human,’ and therefore to claim certain privileges or rights as a human being, is closely bound up with cultural perceptions of ‘nature’ and the ‘nonhuman.’ … [T]he meanings of ‘race’ depend on social definitions of ‘humanness’ and ‘the human family.’”8
“In talking about race or nature, therefore,” Finseth argues, “we are always working within and against the conceptual legacies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.”9 We are, in effect, arguing against Josiah Nott. As one of the present authors has argued elsewhere, “In nineteenth century debates over evolutionary biology, redefining nature impelled the redefinition of race. Arguments against racial essentialism and racial hierarchy undergirded rights to legal personhood, rights to mobility, control over one’s labor, and ownership of one’s own body. Claims to justice, to equal political and civil rights, flowed directly from claims to a common origin in nature.”10 We are concerned today with pedagogies that illuminate this connection between nature, race, humanity, and justice.
The teaching strategies that flow from this approach stress the importance of engagement with place—a connection to one’s habitus, one’s physical surroundings—in shaping transformative higher education, in defining a course of study that not only informs but also allows students to envision new ways of being in the world. In ways suggested by the links between place and historical memory, we envision place-based studies that engage with sites of slavery and racism on the UA campus. The campus landscape itself presents multiple opportunities for the teaching of slavery history, highlighting those acts of memory and forgetting that illuminate or obscure responsibility and justice.
Indeed, part of our engagement with the campus landscape is to insist that any full accounting of the university’s entanglement with slavery will by necessity involve a reconstruction of willful acts of forgetting in the postemancipation era. While the period of slaveholding on our campus was seminal, it was brief relative to the now 140 years of shaping and reshaping a landscape that disguises that breach. The question of “the university and slavery” can never be one of simply accounting and accumulating recoverable knowledge about the black presence. It is perhaps more energetically the story of a continuity of racial hierarchy, invented structures of discrimination, and the vexed question of southern identity. At the University of Alabama, we find in the physical landscape of the campus a hidden transcript that reveals a codependence between the image of the “modern” institution of higher education, the difficult work of racial reconciliation, and more discreet practices of forgetting and disavowal.
Nineteenth-century presidents of the university well understood the critical role of the pedagogy of place and, we might argue, anticipated the permanent bond between landscape and memory we seek to unpack. In the midst of a campus beautification project in 1887–88, President Henry Clayton wrote in his report to the trustees about the Civil War rubble that remained on the campus quadrangle: “I respectfully request and urge that the remains of the destroyed buildings be permitted to remain as historic monuments,” wrote Clayton. “They constitute a chapter in the life of this university more eloquent than words, and if permitted to remain, will teach a lesson to our young men which they can learn in no other way.”11 The lesson Clayton hoped to teach involved the campus’s Civil War destruction by Brigadier General John T. Croxton’s Union troops in April 1865 because the institution served as “a military institution in the enemy South.”12
President Clayton understood as well the significance of physical geography in creating alternate histories. Seeking to establish the campus landscape as a locale for Lost Cause pedagogy, Clayton opined, “It will be a sad day when our children shall believe that they are the descendants of a nation of drones and slave drivers, as is industriously being taught, while we are folding our arms in too much indifference.”13 Clayton uttered this statement with no apparent reflection on the fact that even before opening the doors to the first students in 1831, the University of Alabama trustees made their “first recorded purchase of a slave [known to us now only as Ben] … in 1828.”14
With “the Mound,” a self-conscious decision was made during the reconstruction of the campus (a reconstruction paid for by federal reparations) to protect and gather rubble so that the conflict between the states would be remembered in distinctly heroic terms.15 Much of the rubble remained until 1910, when, over alumni and student protests, several mounds of destroyed buildings were hauled away during a campus modernization project. However, the remains of Franklin Hall, a dormitory, and the barracks that had housed the cadets in the former Confederate Officer Corps, one of four buildings that ringed the original campus rotunda, were retained as a symbolic act that honored the Confederacy.
Maintaining the mounds as sacred space naturalized Lost Cause history. We have to excavate that history. Campus archaeologist Jerry Oldshue, who holds all three of his degrees from the university, did excavate one of the former mounds, Madison Hall. Only a small remnant of the brick building, the southwest corner, remains. Much of what Oldshue found was to be expected on a campus that at the time served Alabama’s aristocratic young white elite: a beer stein, a whiskey bottle, a derringer, a desk. He also identified books that were burned: “You could still read [the titles]—Much Ado about Nothing, Geography of Africa, Plane Geometry—but they soon crumbled after being exposed to air.” He also found “an idol of Sheba, the Union goddess.”16
The “Mounds of Beauty” that Henry Clayton sought to preserve as sacred space held continued salience. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the campus practice began of informally using the space for initiation into honoraries and secret societies. Student Sidney Bland Gorchov described the “grass-covered oblong remnant of earth” in a school newspaper editorial entitled “The Mound” on the occasion of the university’s centennial in 1931. “Its appearance suggests the dimensions of some immense coffin preserving the remains of some giant in legend,” Crimson White staffer Gorchov wrote. “How many students at Alabama are even partially acquainted with the identity, the historical background, this hidden eeriness, and the suggestive aspects attributable to the Mound?”17 From a distant vantage point, his question resonates today.
The mound created from that Civil War debris remains a significant site of campus rituals at which events bestowing campus honors to students and faculty, called “tapping” ceremonies, take place. It was largely unmanicured space and at least since the 1970s, in the shaping of an informal counternarrative, was colonized in a way by students maintaining the modern counterculture practice of the drum circle, a key ritual in the cross-racial performance of many a young white man.
The remains of Civil War–era Confederate cadet dormitory Franklin Hall, memorialized as “the Mound,” with cadets during World War I. Courtesy of the Eugene Allen Smith Collection, W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University of Alabama.
In 2006, two years after the faculty apology for slavery, the space was “rededicated”—landscaped, fenced, marked with a more formal historical marker, and now further designated by the sign Keep Off the Mound. The rededication narrative has never been especially explicit—and the reconstruction (that word again) of the space did at least partially have to do with managing feared Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) challenges to its status as official campus ceremonial space—and the transformation and evolution of its potential meanings has largely passed without campus comment.
In analyzing how the civil rights movement inhabits our memories over time, Vanderbilt sociologist Larry Isaac reminds us that “social memory is cohort or generation-dependent.”18 Generations on a college campus are particularly short, with turnover every four years or so. Inscribing memories on a landscape promotes intergenerational memories.
Just as important as understanding how landscapes make memory is knowing how the forgetting of the university’s history of slavery took place. Again, Isaac is thinking of the civil rights years, but the parallel is relevant. “Understanding the forgotten culture of the civil rights movement story, and how that forgetting took place,” Isaac writes, “is important for what it can tell us about the political struggle over the past as well as envisioning and moving toward a new and more just future.”19 Such “collective memory studies,” Isaac argues, show “how memory can be a vehicle by which movements of the past move to us in the present and presage alternative futures.”20
The relationship between slavery and the University of Alabama must be recovered in the context of the Lost Cause narrative that marked the institution’s return to public viability and brokered and complicated its self-image and embrace of modernity. The narrative is retrospective—a series of partially unearthed facts that detail the African American presence on our campus from its birth moment—and a more complicated process still of discerning patterns of attentiveness, of turning away, and of the shaping of formal structures of exclusion. The look back also includes gestures of reconciliation, friendship, and insight, but it remains unclear whether that more informal narrative and set of actions is able to sustain itself.
Al Brophy did a remarkable job summarizing the history of slavery at the University of Alabama in his important essay “The University and the Slaves: Apology and Its Meaning” and even more remarkable work in brokering, inciting, grounding, and guiding the 2004 faculty apology for UA’s involvement with slavery. Much of what we describe here is deeply indebted to his groundbreaking work. Brophy directed people’s attention to the totality of the institution’s entanglement with slaves and slavery and the intellectual and economic foundations for both. There is—it must be stated in the most direct way possible—no University of Alabama without slavery and the enslaved:
• We know that black labor in enslavement was fundamental to the initial physical construction of the campus in the 1820s and that it involved both university-owned and university-hired slaves. We know that enslaved labor remained an important dimension of the everyday operations of the institution throughout the antebellum period, indeed until the very day federal troops entered the campus grounds.
• We know that faculty, students, and university presidents owned, hired, and disciplined slaves in the course of their scholarship, study, and administration of the University of Alabama. Students brought slaves with them to campus. Key figures in the development of the University of Alabama—most notably Basil Manly and William Garland—were major slaveholders.
• We know that Alabama faculty and administrators played a key role in managing the evolving justification for slavery in its biblical, political, economic, and natural scientific manifestations. Basil Manly and Josiah Nott, in particular, are not only key figures in the development of southern higher education but also absolutely central to the narrative by which the slaveocracy shaped an ever-evolving narrative of defense.21
The destruction of the university by Union troops on April 4, 1865, did not make inevitable the forgoing of a process of reconciliation and evaluation, but it certainly became the emotional grounding of a narrative of heroic loss. It also required the shaping of a new physical environment—literal building from the ground up—that both left traces of a lived past and more self-consciously marked an ideology that insisted upon the preservation of honor—and, of course, what Walker Percy liked to call “the venerable tradition of keeping Negroes out.”22 Both the immediate rebuilding of the Alabama flagship and the extended modernization of a twentieth-century university involved shaping and maintaining physical markers of place that hid the African American presence, valorized a distinctly martial ideal, and looked to ritually socialize insiders and outsiders into the embrace of a truncated history.
The physical landscape constantly alludes to shared white trauma while at the same time courting a kind of desirable ideological neutrality—somehow a cross between Southern Living and a Greek Revival Levittown. Throughout the twentieth century, the university steadfastly maintained an attachment to a modified Jeffersonian vision, that is, a grand and planned academic village that made physically central and partially performative the campus’s destruction. The university required at strategic moments in its twentieth-century development both the influx of outsiders—both faculty and student resources—and sustained markers of the Lost Cause, all staged within purposeful management of the social system of segregation.
Our goal is to promote reflection on the resources that exist in our most immediate physical surroundings not as a forgetting or dismissal of the teaching of conventional historical narrative but as partial acknowledgment of the significant filters and anxieties our students carry with them. The minutest number imaginable of our students are neosecessionist ideologues, despite the uncritical embrace many make of antebellum dress-up games and so-called southern heritage parties. Most students have more likely been introduced to the key twentieth-century episode in our racial history through an encounter with Forrest Gump than through guided systematic reflection.
So our instinct is that we have an opportunity to do work that is both disruptive yet nonthreatening in the short term by directing attention to aspects of the mundane spaces that students travel each day. We suspect too, in evaluating the collective work that this shared project represents, that the question of the evolution of the physical space of our campus (related to but not wholly overlapping with work in recent years at Vanderbilt and elsewhere in examining naming practices) may be our distinct contribution. There is a distinct and unusual relationship between commemorated slave graves on our campus, the smoldering ashes of a destroyed university in 1865, and the proverbial school-house door of 1963. That relationship points not only to so-called structures of feeling but also—in the most particular and revealing ways—to crucial institutional decision-making practices that reveal the mechanisms that sustained segregation and, most present of all, the difficulties we face in the contemporary United States to shape satisfying practices of racial reconciliation.
First, we provide a very quick inventory of the pedagogical resources available to us as represented by the space in which we do our work, and then we conclude with a slightly more detailed meditation on two of those resources. They include
• commemorated slave graves near the center of our campus;
• commemoration of key figures of the slaveocracy on most every building around our campus quadrangle;
• historical markers that designate heroism in the great conflict or highlight federal troops’ destruction of the campus;
• our presidential mansion, protected by southern womanhood and surrounded by slave quarters; and
• Foster Auditorium and the new Malone-Hood Plaza with the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower.
The slave quarters adjoining the president’s mansion, prior to renovation, from Hill Ferguson’s scrapbook. Courtesy of the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University of Alabama.
The slave quarters, 2011. Photo by Tawny Fowler. Courtesy of Tawny Fowler.
Malone-Hood Plaza, dedicated to Vivian Malone and James Hood, the two African American students who desegregated the University of Alabama in 1963, with the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower, honoring the first black student to enroll in 1956. Photo by Tawny Fowler. Courtesy of Tawny Fowler.
Two additional sites on our campus are particularly suggestive of both the possibilities and the challenges of this pedagogical approach. The Ferguson Center, the campus student union, was named for alumnus William Hill Ferguson (class of 1896) in 1969, just a half dozen years after the arrival of James Hood and Vivian Malone Jones. (The board of trustees agreed to name the building in honor of Ferguson in 1969; it was dedicated in 1973.) William Hill Ferguson was a remarkable presence for close to seventy years at the Tuscaloosa campus. He was the son of Frederick Summerfield Ferguson, a self-designated Confederate “captain” who actually spent most of the Civil War as a prisoner of war in New York and Boston. “Captain” Ferguson sent his son Hill to the University of Alabama, where he became a member of one of the last cohorts of Alabama Cadets, gray-suited students who were committed to military values and discipline but who had no formal relationship to the U.S. military. He thrived as a student and athlete and earned Phi Beta Kappa membership. In the first decade of the twentieth century, following a stint as secretary to President John William Abercrombie, who served from 1902 to 1911, and, admittedly, following a period of wandering and no sense of vocation, Ferguson found purpose in his new role as president of the nascent alumni association and became the driving force in the Greater University Campaign. The campaign sought funds for the first major building boom in the post-Reconstruction period and further established the first campus master plan. An active shaping presence in the development of the plan, Ferguson insisted, as had university leaders twenty years earlier, on the preservation of the Mound as a permanent presence on the landscape. Ferguson also took a leading role in the campaign during the late 1940s to preserve the old campus core with state and federal historic designation and was relentless in his efforts to ensure that the campus core and the narrative of heroic Confederate resistance were sacralized. By this time in his life and career, he was a venerable member of the University of Alabama board of trustees, and he had served for many years as the vice president of Jemison Real Estate Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama, the company that played a large role in the permanent shaping of that city’s segregated housing patterns and the eventual emergence of exclusive “over the mountain” communities. He was the key strategist on the board of trustees in developing active resistance measures to the emerging desegregation mandate in the 1950s and the only trustee to vote against the admission of Autherine Lucy.23
Ferguson was a classic New South apologist; within his person were entangled civic boosterism, relentless faith in and drive for modernization of the South, and unshakeable commitment to an imagined traditional set of social values with rigid segregation at its core, all rooted in a deep and personal sense of grievance and mourning. Ironically—or perhaps inevitably—he was also an amateur historian and archivist, compiling some of the most valuable collections of materials related to University of Alabama and Birmingham heritage. When the process of desegregation was complete and he had moved into retirement, Ferguson wrote a regressive and, by 1963, anachronistic screed to then president Frank Rose, bemoaning the inevitability of “mongrelization” and diminishment of southern values that he imagined were marked by the arrival of two black students. The student center building memorialized Ferguson, then, precisely at a time when university officials were moving away from Ferguson’s segregationist views. (President Rose replied politely to Ferguson’s diatribe and quietly filed his letter away in a folder labeled “Crank Letters.”)
One further example reveals how the histories of slavery, Reconstruction, modernization, and desegregation are permanently entangled in the landscape by official and unofficial patterns of recognition and usage and, similarly, official and unofficial patterns of forgetting. Another striking attempt to memorialize the fading past is embodied in what is arguably the most remarkable work of art to be displayed in a university building. In 1925 the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) commissioned a Tiffany window honoring the Knight of the Confederacy and had it installed in the university library. The dedication ceremony was attended by members of the Tuscaloosa community, by university community members, and, most notably, by seven surviving Confederate veterans, part of the corps of cadets who had defended the university sixty years earlier. This striking window was relocated to the new Gorgas Main Library in 1939 and remained in prominent public display until 1993, when the UDC paid to have it moved again, this time to the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library. The window highlights the view from inside the Hoole second-floor lobby, but in some ways the more striking and significant views are to be seen from the outside. Mary Harmon Bryant Hall was designed to serve as a collections site not only for the university library but also for the Alabama State Geological Survey and the Alabama Natural History Museum. It is one of a very small number of buildings not shaped in Greek Revival style and is really a fairly brutal piece of modern architecture, appropriate for its function but not attracting attention. Indeed, the Knight of the Confederacy—now guarding Alabama’s natural and historical heritage—is nearly the only window in a big brick box. But standing as it does forty feet above street level in a building few undergraduates will enter over the course of their careers, the transient knight now largely stands unnoticed.24
In a course called Southern Narrative before Civil Rights, students are taken to see the Tiffany window as part of a larger exercise that considers the way in which the campus landscape embodies stories about the meaning of the South and was consciously shaped by generations of institution builders. We work and walk our way backward from the recently unveiled Foster Plaza, an elegant acknowledgment of the significant heroism of young African American trailblazers, if historiographically complex and fraught with silences, across the campus quad to the Mound, the formal and informal site of initiation into leadership. From the Mound we make our way to the markers acknowledging the burial of university-owned and -hired slaves and then farther down Hackberry Lane to our last stop, which is the site of the Tiffany Knight of the Confederacy.
The Knight of the Confederacy, depicted in the Tiffany window commissioned in 1925 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Photo by Zachary Riggins. Courtesy of the University of Alabama.
Most students have not been into the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library in Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, so the trip up the elevator and the standard but unfamiliar archives rituals of dispensing with backpacks and signing in mark a distinct occasion and location. The window itself dominates the gateway to the institution’s heritage. Indeed, if anything, the knight seems to function as the keeper of that past and to cast judgment on all who would plan to interpret it critically. We talk about the United Daughters of the Confederacy and their efforts to recapture an honorable and honored South, about the presence of the last surviving Confederate veterans at the window’s dedication ceremony, and about the tension between New South boosterism and apologists for antebellum romanticism. The librarians themselves are torn, we can tell, between appreciating the aesthetic richness of the Tiffany glasswork in an otherwise drab environment and a slight embarrassment at its privileged position, seemingly tainting all who are associated with it in an official capacity and always demanding explanation.
The students are sophisticated-enough interpreters of the more recent southern past to recognize that the knight is, on the whole, “a bit much.” It is hard to reconcile a specific accounting of the realities of slavery on the campus, especially the modest acknowledgment given the slave graves, with this generous helping of courtly myth and churchly sacralism. Female students, in particular, are able to articulate discomfort about just what message the knight’s defense of their purity must have sent to generations of young women, just as a few men courageously note that maybe, just maybe, there might remain something valuable in a martial ideal. There’s a relationship, they say, between the knight’s readiness and the emergence of Alabama in the mid-1920s as “Dixie’s Football Pride.” If Alabama and the South are doomed to the economic, educational, and cultural bottom for at least another half century, why not embrace a radical ideal attainable through character, grit, and “toughness”?
As the class of fifteen crams itself back into the notoriously bumpy and slow elevator, small talk is nervous but authentic. It is like having watched a politically incorrect YouTube video and laughed. For a “mixed” group of longtime and part-time southerners, it is hard work looking behind the screen. The visit’s pedagogical value always feels immediate even when it does not translate into a neat new thesis about race, education, and history. The work of making people move self-consciously through their own work landscape rewards not by any fixed articulation of the meaning of racial justice but by making movement through that landscape always fraught with the possibility of new discovery.
1. See E. Culpepper Clark, The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation’s Last Stand at the University of Alabama (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
2. Josiah Clark Nott, Two Lectures on the Natural History of the Caucasian and Negro Races (Mobile, Ala.: Dade and Thompson, 1844), 1–53.
3. Leslie M. Harris and Jody Usher describe a model program in this field in “Difficult Dialogues: From Disenchantment to Dialogue and Action: The ‘Transforming Community’ Project at Emory University,” Change, March/April 2008, 18–23. Others have linked research and dialogue, such as the visits to Oxford College that have played an important role in the research-based fact-finding project called “Gathering the Tools,” developed also by the Transforming Community Project at Emory.
4. Alfred L. Brophy, “The University and the Slaves: Apology and Its Meaning,” in The Age of Apology: Facing Up to the Past, ed. Mark Gibney (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Max Clarke and Gary Alan Fine, “‘A’ for Apology: Slavery and the Discourse of Remonstrance in Two American Universities,” History & Memory 22, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2010): 81–112.
5. Jim Vertuno, “Klansman’s Name Stripped from Dormitory,” Atlanta Journal Constitution, July 16, 2010, A8.
6. Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1991); David Harvey, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1996); Doreen B. Massey, Space, Place, and Gender (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994); Edward W. Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (London: Verso, 1989).
7. David A. Gruenewald, “The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place,” Educational Researcher 32, no. 4 (May 2003): 3–12, 9. For more on critical and place-based pedagogies, see, for example, Peter McLaren, Life in Schools: An Introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of Education, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 1998); and Paul Theobald, Teaching the Commons: Place, Pride, and the Renewal of Community (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997).
8. Ian Frederick Finseth, Shades of Green: Visions of Nature in the Literature of American Slavery, 1770–1860 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009), 2.
10. Ellen Griffith Spears, “‘Renovated Hopes’: A Reinvigorated Conception of Environmental Justice in a Changing Racial Landscape,” paper presented at the Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement Conference, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, April 4, 2009, 4–5.
11. Addenda to Report, President’s Report, box 001, folder 1, President’s Reports, 1841–97, University Archives, W. S. Hoole Special Collections, University of Alabama. The report is unsigned and undated, but it was later marked “1887–1888” and gives enrollment figures that suggest it was written in 1887–88, when Henry Clayton was president. See also Addenda to Report, President’s Report, “The Campus,” 5.
12. Sidney Bland Gorchov, “The Mound,” centennial magazine, Crimson White, 1931, 44, range 48, shelf 009, box 115, Hoole Collections.
13. Addenda to Report, President’s Reports, 4.
14. James B. Sellers, History of the University of Alabama, Vol. 1, 1818–1902 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1953), 38.
15. After repeated pleas to compensate the university for the destruction by fire of the campus by Union troops near the close of the Civil War, in 1884 the U.S. Congress increased the endowment of the University of Alabama by transferring more than forty-six thousand acres of public land for “restoration of the library … and scientific apparatus which had been destroyed by fire.” James B. Sellers, History of the University of Alabama, 1818–1902 (Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 1953), 345–46. This distinct language is also used on a plaque outside Clark Hall acknowledging the building’s origins: “in reparation for the 1865 destruction of the campus by Federal troops.”
16. Personal communication with Jerry Oldshue, January 5, 2011.
17. Gorchov, “The Mound,” 43.
18. Larry Isaac, “Movement of Movements: Culture Moves in the Long Civil Rights Struggle,” Social Forces 87, no. 1 (September 2008): 33–63, at 50.
19. Ibid., 56, citing Jacqueline Dowd Hall, “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” Journal of American History 91, no. 4 (March 2005): 1233–63.
20. Ibid., 50.
21. The history of slavery at the University of Alabama has only begun to be studied. The University Special Collections and University Archives have rich resources that speak to the character and quality of intellectual, cultural, and literary life in and at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and surrounding counties. Al Brophy has done an outstanding job at establishing the base presence of slaves at the institution and the relationship of some aspects of faculty life, university operations, and the business of teaching and learning with slavery. There remain rich opportunities to evaluate and establish the relationship between the economic life of the university more generally and the evolution of the situation of black labor into the postbellum period. Furthermore, we have only scratched the surface here in suggesting the ways in which the memorialization of a particular version of the southern past is deeply inscribed in the physical landscape; other researchers might engage student life and rituals, the folk history of local black communities, and informal patterns of meaning making through individual acts of memorialization. See Brophy, “The University and the Slaves,” 109–19, 111.
22. As invoked often in his superb comic novel, Love in the Ruins (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1971).
23. On Hill Ferguson, see Carl Martin Hames, Hill Ferguson: His Life and Works (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1978). Ferguson’s careful documentation of the Greater University Campaign is to be found in scrapbook 3, box 107, Hill Ferguson Papers, Hoole Collections. His long account of desegregation efforts at UA is to be found in box 006-19803921-006, folder “Integration, Crank Letters 1963,” Frank A. Rose Papers, Hoole Collections.
24. See Robert Mellown, “A Stained-Glass Tiffany Knight,” Alabama Heritage 27 (Winter 1993).