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History Professor Awarded Prestigious NEH Fellowship

Posted on: February 15th, 2017 by pjstewar

Jarod Roll, associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi, has been awarded a coveted fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The yearlong fellowship allows scholars in the humanities to focus solely on their research or writing. Of the 1,298 scholars who applied for the 2017 fellowship, only 86 – less than 7 percent – were chosen for the award. Roll, a highly regarded historian of modern America with a focus on labor in U.S. history, joined the faculty in the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History in 2014.

He plans to use his fellowship, which begins in August, to complete a book project, tentatively titled “American Metal Miners and the Lure of Capitalism 1850-1950.” Roll is exploring the history of the white working-class anti-unionism and conservatism movements in the Tri-State Mining District of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, a region that was national leader in the production of zinc and lead.

“Unlike miners elsewhere in the United States, the Tri-State miners resisted unionization and government reforms for over a century,” he said. “I am particularly interested in how their ideas about capitalism, as well as ethnicity and gender, influenced these views.

“Scholars in my field of labor history have not given much attention to workers who opposed unions, particularly over an extended period. My research fills that gap. It’s important, I think, to understand that white working-class conservatism is not a recent development, as some commentators would have it, but rather a subject with a deep history that we can trace back into the middle of the 19th century.”

“We are very proud of Dr. Roll’s achievement and what it represents for the university’s legacy of academic excellence,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “This fellowship is one of the most coveted and competitive awards in the humanities, and Dr. Roll’s selection by the NEH is further evidence of his standing as one of the top humanities researchers in the country.”

The honor also is important because of the role humanities play in understanding and applying arts and sciences in today’s world, said Lee Cohen, dean of the UM College of Liberal Arts.

“Research in the humanities helps us not only to contextualize development in the sciences, innovations in technology and advances in medicine, it offers us an opportunity to recognize that the work being done on campus by our faculty has a broad reach, beyond the laboratory, beyond the studies and beyond the classroom,” Cohen said.

“This work influences how we understand ourselves in very real, very tangible ways that impact our everyday lives. Dr. Roll being chosen for this well-regarded NEH fellowship indicates that his work is being recognized at the highest level, which is consistent with an R1 institution.”

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said William D. Adams, NEH chairman. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

Roll has previously authored two books “Spirit of Rebellion: Labor and Religion in the New Cotton South” (University of Illinois Press, 2010) and “The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor’s Southern Prophets in New Deal America” (University of Illinois Press, 2011).

Archives Gains Addition to James Silver Collection

Posted on: December 31st, 2016 by erabadie

By Christina Steube | December 21, 2015

silverbookThe University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library has acquired a unique collection of notes written by author and former UM faculty member James Silver.

Silver began teaching history at the university in 1936 and served as chair of the Department of History from 1946 to 1957. He is perhaps best known for his work on the history of race relations in the state, especially the 1964 publication of Mississippi: The Closed Society. That same year, Silver took a leave of absence from UM and continued to teach at Notre Dame and the University of South Florida.

The collection of notes includes newspaper clippings about race relations as well as handwritten notes, thoughts and underlined sections in the articles relevant to him.

“This gift provides an important glimpse into the research process used by Dr. Silver in conjunction with this seminal work,” said Jennifer Ford, head of Archives and Special Collections and an associate professor. “These notes survive due to the noteworthy efforts of Doris Bain Thompson, and we are deeply indebted to her family for this donation.”

In 1968, Thompson was a teacher working on her master’s degree in American history when she took a course taught by Silver in Innsbruck, Austria. Following a class seminar, Silver discarded his research notes. Thompson gathered and kept what she believed to be 90 pages of research notes for the enlarged edition of Mississippi: The Closed Society, published in 1966.

In a letter to her family while in Austria, Thompson wrote that she was taking a “great course in race relations which I think I have already explained is being taught by James Silver, the author of Mississippi: The Closed Society and Thursday he threw out on the seminar table his research notes on the added 120-page addition that was included in the book. … I picked up all that were left after the others had left since he was leaving them for the janitors to clean up. Must have about 50 or 60 pages on yellow foolscap. Should be great to show a class how a researcher goes about writing such a book.”

Thompson’s daughter, Mary Margaret Hansen, said her mother was a teacher who spent many summers taking courses to gain more knowledge about American history.

Thompson taught American history and English to students at Lago Oil and Transport Co.’s school in Aruba and was also a director of choral music. Hansen said her mother was multitalented and also had an intellectual curiosity that drove her to keep learning.

She added that Thompson was a very visual teacher and likely saw these notes as an opportunity to incorporate an example of original research into her own American history courses.

While looking through family belongings, Hansen came across the notes, and she and her siblings decided to donate them to the university.

“We thought they would be more useful in archives, contributing to the subject matter, than they would be for us to keep them,” Hansen said. “We’re happy the papers are where they may be looked at as a small piece of a larger puzzle.”

This collection is a great asset to faculty, students and researchers studying topics dealing with race relations and Southern history, Ford said.

Professor Anne Twitty’s New Book

Posted on: December 4th, 2016 by atwitty

Before Dred Scott: Slavery and Legal Culture in the American Confluence, 1787-1857

Cambridge University Press, 2016


In her new book, Anne Twitty, associate professor of history, draws on a largely untapped collection of freedom suits filed in the St. Louis Circuit Court to construct a groundbreaking history of slavery and legal culture within the American Confluence, a vast region where three of America’s greatest waterways–the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Missouri–converge.

Twitty persuasively demonstrate that although the American Confluence was formally divided between slave and free territories and states, it was nevertheless a site where the borders between slavery and freedom, like the borders within the region itself, were fluid. Such ambiguity, she argues, produced a radical indeterminacy of status, which, in turn, gave rise to a distinctive legal culture made manifest by the prosecution of hundreds of freedom suits, including the case that ultimately culminated in the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Challenging dominant trends in legal history, which have claimed that average Americans engaged with the law from a position of hostility, ignorance, or indifference, Before Dred Scott argues that the distinctive legal culture of the American Confluence, above all, was defined by ordinary people’s remarkable understanding of formal law and their willingness to employ it to suit their own ends.

Professor Mikaëla Adams’s New Book

Posted on: December 2nd, 2016 by atwitty

Who Belongs? Race, Resources, and Tribal Citizenship in the Native South

Oxford University Press, 2016

adamsWho can lay claim to a legally-recognized Indian identity? Who decides whether or not an individual qualifies? The right to determine tribal citizenship is fundamental to tribal sovereignty, but deciding who belongs has a complicated history, especially in the South.

Indians who remained in the South following removal became a marginalized and anomalous people in an emerging biracial world. Despite the economic hardships and assimilationist pressures they faced, they insisted on their political identity as citizens of tribal nations and rejected Euro-American efforts to reduce them to another racial minority, especially in the face of Jim Crow segregation. Drawing upon their cultural traditions, kinship patterns, and evolving needs to protect their land, resources, and identity from outsiders, southern Indians constructed tribally-specific citizenship criteria, in part by manipulating racial categories – like blood quantum – that were not traditional elements of indigenous cultures. Mikaëla M. Adams, assistant professor of history, investigates how six southern tribes-the Pamunkey Indian Tribe of Virginia, the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida-decided who belonged. By focusing on the rights and resources at stake, the effects of state and federal recognition, the influence of kinship systems and racial ideologies, and the process of creating official tribal rolls, Adams reveals how Indians established legal identities.

Through examining the nineteenth and twentieth century histories of these Southern tribes, Who Belongs? quashes the notion of an essential “Indian” and showcases the constantly-evolving process of defining tribal citizenship.

42nd Annual Porter Fortune, Jr., Symposium and 10th UM Conference on the Civil War

Posted on: October 5th, 2016 by pjstewar


Please join us for the 42nd Annual Porter Fortune, Jr. Symposium, A Just and Lasting Peace. Panels will take place at the Yerby Conference Center from 8:30-5:30, Friday and Saturday, October 7-8, 2016. The Keynote speaker will be Heather Cox Richardson, from Boston College. All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History at 662.915.7148 or via email,

Ian Beamish to Speak on Slavery in Antebellum Mississippi

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by atwitty


The Arch Dalrymple III Department of History will host Ian Beamish for “Light Fingers and Heavy Hearts: Cotton Picking, Slavery, and the Quota System in the Deep South,” a presentation to be held next Monday, September 26th at 4:00PM in the Faulkner Room in J.D. Williams Library. Beamish, a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, specializes in slavery and capitalism in antebellum Louisiana and Mississippi. This event is open to the public and should be of interest to faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students interested in learning more about the labor of enslaved people.

History Faculty to Serve on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Context

Posted on: August 10th, 2016 by atwitty

Three members of the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History have been selected by Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter to serve on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Context (CACHC), which is charged with recommending campus sites, including monuments, buildings, and street names, that should be contextualized to better explain the environments in which they were created or named and how those environments compare to our core institutional values. Charles Ross, Professor of History and Director of African American Studies, John Neff, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Civil War Research, and Anne Twitty, Associate Professor of History, will serve alongside eleven other members of the CACHC. The committee will engage in a transparent and inclusive process that aligns with the UM Creed and employ a variety of methods to ensure broad community input, including the addition of ad hoc expertise as needed on a project-by-project basis, and will keep the community informed of the status of projects under consideration.

UM Professor Awarded Prestigious Princeton Fellowship

Posted on: August 3rd, 2016 by atwitty

By Christina Steube | July 22, 2016

Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies Shennette Garrett-Scott has been awarded a Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies fellowship to Princeton University for the 2016-2018 academic years.

Shennette Garrett-Scott is among only a half-dozen scholars from around the world to receive the Princeton fellowship this year. The theme of this year’s Davis fellowship is “Risk and Fortune.”

Garrett-Scott’s scholarship focuses on gender, race and business, all topics that coincide with a book she’s writing on African-American women in finance and banking.

“The center’s biennial theme ‘Risk and Fortune’ was precisely up my alley,” Garrett-Scott said. “People have tried to avoid risk and increase their fortunes throughout history. They insure their lives against inevitable misfortunes that acknowledge – and hopefully limit – risk. They save and invest money to increase their fortunes.”

Her book explores the Independent Order of St. Luke, a mutual aid society organized in Baltimore in the 1850s by African-American women. After moving to Richmond, Virginia, following the Civil War, the IOSL organized a bank that became the oldest operating African-American-controlled bank until it was purchased in 2011.

“My book is the first history of the insurance and banking industries that focuses on African-American women, tracing how they saved, lent and invested from the Jim Crow to the civil rights era,” she said.

The fellowship will allow her to continue her research while contributing her own knowledge to the intellectual culture at Princeton. The fellows will participate in weekly seminars, conferences, workshops and other activities to bring together scholars from different disciplines to study historically important topics.

“This fellowship will allow her to finish researching this very innovative topic and allow her the opportunity to dialogue with other fellows and faculty at Princeton,” said Charles Ross, UM director of African-American studies and professor of history. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Garrett-Scott and the African-American studies program is delighted that she was awarded this prestigious fellowship.”

Garrett-Scott, a native Texan, earned her doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Texas in 2011. She joined the university in 2013 and teaches courses such as “Experiences of Black Mississippians,” “Origins of the Jim Crow South” and “Oprah Winfrey, Gender, Race and Power.”

Jessie Wilkerson Earns Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Posted on: June 3rd, 2016 by atwitty

By Rebecca Lauck Cleary | June 1, 2016

wilkerson-jessica-cropped-200x252 Jessica Wilkerson, assistant professor of history and Southern Studies, trades Oxford, Mississippi, for Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the 2016–17 academic year as part of the Visiting Scholars Program at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s Visiting Scholars Program provides residential fellowships for junior faculty members and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences. The fellowship program offers scholars a year for research and writing free from teaching and administrative duties, a collaborative work environment, and the opportunity to interact with Academy members.

“The Academy also organizes weekly seminars when we will meet with the other fellows, as well as editors, publishers, and senior scholars, to discuss our work,” said Wilkerson, who has taught classes on southern history, women’s history, contemporary US history, and oral history at the University of Mississippi since fall 2014. Her research interests include southern and Appalachian history, US women’s and gender history, labor and working-class history, twentieth-century social movements, and oral history. She earned her MA from Sarah Lawrence College and her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This past semester Wilkerson completed a successful graduate class on oral history techniques. The class ended with students performing short pieces from their oral histories.

The Visiting Scholars fellowship will allow her to devote all of her energy to writing her book-length manuscript, “Where Movements Meet: From the War on Poverty to Grassroots Feminism in the Appalachian South.” The work traces the alliances forged and the grassroots movements led by women in the Appalachian South in the 1960s and 1970s.

She received the news just before spring break, and said she was pleasantly surprised. “My motto is to apply for anything and everything that could support my research and writing, and that means I am used to getting rejection letters,” Wilkerson said, “But every now and then, the stars align. I feel very fortunate to have the time to pursue my writing goals, and I am grateful for the support of the Academy and the University of Mississippi.”

Housed at the headquarters of the Academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, visiting scholars participate in Academy-sponsored conferences, seminars, and informal gatherings while advancing their scholarly research. The Academy provides office space and computer services as well as library privileges in cooperation with the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. Nearly sixty academic institutions from across the country have become University Affiliates of the Academy, supporting the Visiting Scholars Program and participating in Academy studies on higher education.

Wilkerson said she is looking forward to meeting the other seven visiting fellows in her cohort.

“I love being a part of small, focused scholarly communities and writing groups, so it’s a perfect fit for me,” she said. “And while I enjoy small town life, it will be lovely to explore a new-to-me city. Is there a more intellectually thriving place than Boston and Cambridge? Museums, bookstores, lectures, exhibits, performances galore. It will be fabulous!

Professor Charles Ross’s New Book

Posted on: May 5th, 2016 by atwitty

Mavericks, Money, and Men: The AFL, Black Players, and the Evolution of Modern Football

Temple University Press, 2016

ross“Although other writers have explored the history of the American Football League, Mavericks, Money, and Men is the most extensive treatment of the league to date. Linking the history of the AFL with a number of key developments in American society and culture, Ross skillfully synthesizes an array of personal memoirs with a wide range of compelling anecdotes. Archival materials also illuminate the internal workings of the AFL. Mavericks, Money, and Men is a valuable narrative history that captures key moments in the development of the nation’s most popular sport.“—Gregory Kaliss, author of Men’s College Athletics and the Politics of Racial Equality

The American Football League, established in 1960, was innovative both in its commitment to finding talented, overlooked players—particularly those who played for historically black colleges and universities—and in the decision by team owners to share television revenues.

In Mavericks, Money and Men, football historian Charles Ross chronicles the AFL’s key events, including Buck Buchanan becoming the first overall draft pick in 1963, and the 1965 boycott led by black players who refused to play in the AFL-All Star game after experiencing blatant racism. He also recounts how the success of the AFL forced a merger with the NFL in 1969, which arguably facilitated the evolution of modern professional football.

Ross shows how the league, originally created as a challenge to the dominance of the NFL, pressured for and ultimately accelerated the racial integration of pro football and also allowed the sport to adapt to how African Americans were themselves changing the game.