- Annual Report of the Secretary-Treasurer
Last year's annual meeting in Birmingham marked the fifth time the Association has met in the city. Our very first meeting was held at Birmingham's Tutwiler Hotel in 1935. We returned again in 1946, when Ella Lonn presided as the first woman president of the SHA. We did not return until 1998, but since then we have visited regularly, in 2006 and 2018.
In addition to their substantial fund-raising effort, Local Arrangements Committee chairs LeeAnn G. Reynolds and Jonathan Bass beautifully pulled together our opening plenary, "Spreading a Feast of the South: Reflections on Alabama Food and Culture." The panel featured insights and analysis from both those who study food in the South and those who prepare it.
Program Committee chairs Lorri Glover and Megan Taylor Shockley followed up with an incredibly rich set of panels and roundtables devoted to such diverse topics as southern public health, animal studies, social justice and policing, media and visual culture, science and slavery, and the environment and activism. Special sessions included the Graduate Student Luncheon, focusing on "Publishing in the Twenty-First Century," at which graduate students were seated with publishers, bloggers, podcasters, and digital historians for intense small-group discussions about academic publishing, virtual networking, social media utilization, and more.
Friday evening was capped, as usual, by the presidential address and reception. Jane Turner Censer offered a fascinating portrait of Amélie Rives—the Virginia-born author of more than twenty works of fiction—and her experiences with northern editors in the late nineteenth century who actively sought white southerners' literary contributions as part of sectional reconciliation.
Our offsite events were particularly popular this year. On Friday we hosted "Remembering the Struggle for Civil Rights in Birmingham" at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, part of the newly designated [End Page 389] Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. The panel explored the history of the Freedom Rides, the Children's Crusade, and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing with veterans of the civil rights struggles in the city, including Catherine Burks-Brooks, Janice Wesley Kelsey, and Carolyn McKinstry. On Saturday interested members went on a bus excursion to Sloss Furnaces, once the largest manufacturer of pig iron in the world.
The Committee on Women, Gender, and Sexuality hosted a discussion about policies and strategies available to faculty members and graduate students who have faced sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The Southern Association for Women Historians annual address was delivered by Kendra Taira Field, "'Things to Be Forgotten': African American Family Histories and Silences after Emancipation." The Committee on Minorities organized our final plenary event, on Saturday evening, at the Birmingham Museum of Art, a discussion of African American public history featuring Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Brenda Tindal, director of education and engagement at the International African American Museum; Meredith R. Evans, director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum; and Howard Robinson of Alabama State University.
The Executive Council convened in Birmingham on Thursday, November 8, and welcomed aboard new council members W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Glenn T. Eskew, and Lorri Glover. The main item on the agenda was Rice University's request for additional funds to help defray their annual outlays in behalf of the Association, which are substantial and for which we are grateful. To make this possible, the Executive Council approved a modest increase in annual dues. As we are on the sordid topic of coin: There are a number of things SHA members can do to help keep costs down and to ensure the long-term financial health of the Association. Consider, for instance, becoming a recurring member and/or a digital-only member (thesha.org/join). The former ensures more steady revenues to the SHA, and the latter helps reduce our printing costs. As always, we appreciate those who remember the Association in their charitable giving. We are a professional association to be sure, but we are also a nonprofit supporting the cause of history (and reality-based thinking) in and about the American South.
The other major topic of discussion at the Executive Council...