- Annual Report of the Secretary-Treasurer
Last year’s annual meeting in Louisville marked the seventh time the Association has met in the city, roughly once per decade since 1970. In 1984, we celebrated our fiftieth anniversary in Louisville with our first adventure to the Galt House, where scholars A. Elizabeth Taylor, C. Vann Woodward, John Hope Franklin, and Arthur S. Link presented a fifty-year retrospective on “The Study of Southern History.”
The 2019 Local Arrangements Committee chairs, Glenn Crothers and Tracy K’Meyer, did a stellar job in all departments, raising impressive financial support for the receptions while also contributing substantially to the program itself. Their closing plenary, “Making History Work: Teaching, Research, and Public History in Kentucky,” included panelists Patrick A. Lewis, Filson Historical Society; Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky; and Amanda L. Higgins, Kentucky Historical Society, and was a particular highlight. Hosted at the iconic Frazier History Museum, the program featured a lively discussion of how we sustain the wider ecosystem of history education followed by a reception spotlighting local cuisine, local beers and bourbons, and local music from “honky tonk evangelist” Tyler Lance Walker Gill.
Program Committee chairs Jim Giesen and Anne Marshall also outdid themselves in ensuring that the full vibrancy of our field was on display in a rich set of panels and roundtables. Special sessions included the opening plenary, “Felon Disenfranchisement: Past and Present,” featuring panelists Cherie Dawson-Edwards, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Louisville; Pippa Holloway, Department of History, Middle Tennessee State University; Alec Ewald, Department of Political Science, University of Vermont; Marc Mauer, director of the Sentencing Project; Stephen Reily, attorney and advocate, Louisville, Kentucky; and Amanda Hall, Smart on Crime Organizer, American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. If you missed the session, you can watch it on SHA’s new YouTube channel: tinyurl.com/southernYouTube. [End Page 391]
Friday evening was capped, as usual, by the president’s reception and address, where President William A. Link drew from his forthcoming biography of historian, U.S. senator, and southern liberal Frank Porter Graham. Link was particularly incisive in explaining how Graham defined and used racial gradualism as a tool of social change in the white supremacist South. Link’s delivery can also be revisited at our YouTube channel, and the address was published in the February issue of the Journal.
Other important sessions in Louisville included the Committee on Women, Gender, and Sexuality’s hosted discussion of “appropriate ways for professional associations to handle credible allegations of sexual harassment, racist behavior, or other violations of our ethical policies.” The Executive Council has appointed a subcommittee to make specific recommendations for action in this area, and the panel was a forum for generating ideas and sounding the membership. The SHA’s Statement on Inclusiveness notes that the Association “strives to treat all of its members with dignity and respect and to provide a community that is free from discrimination whether based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, or any other status or classification protected by federal, state or local law.” In the era of #MeToo, the question of enforcement, sanctions, and penalties remains, however, especially as the American Historical Association no longer provides legal counsel on such questions to its affiliate organizations. The new subcommittee, chaired by Kirsten Wood and Craig Friend, is expected to file its report and make policy recommendations at this year’s Executive Council meeting.
As usual, our affiliates provided their own outstanding contributions to the annual program. Anne Sarah Rubin, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, delivered the Southern Association for Women Historians annual address, “‘I Can’t Buy One Mouth Full of Nothing to Eat’: Women and the Struggle for Sustenance in the Civil War South.” At its annual banquet, the Society of Civil War Historians awarded the 2019 Tom Watson Brown Book Award to Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky, for her book Embattled Freedom: Journeys Through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps (Chapel Hill, 2018). The European History Section luncheon featured Christian Raffensperger, Wittenberg University, speaking on “What Is a King? What Is a...