In addition to sponsoring speakers, conferences, concerts, and other events, the Summersell Center has a number of ongoing research projects and several others in early stages of development. Current standing research projects include:
“Documenting Runaway Slaves in Alabama, 1800-1861
With assistance from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Summersell Center is currently undertaking a project to collect, digitize, and transcribe every runaway slave advertisement and jailor’s advertisement that appeared in an Alabama newspaper between 1800 and 1861. The information gathered during this project will ultimately be made available to the public online in the form of a searchable database and will be accompanied by a series of interpretive essays that speak to some of the ways this material can inform our understanding of slavery in the state.
“Foodways in Alabama”
In partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Alabama Tourism Department, the Summersell Center is engaging in research on the history of Alabama foodways. Beginning with two essays–one on the history of foodways broadly in the state and another on the history of Alabama barbecue–the Center hopes to make ongoing and lasting contributions to the scholarship and public awareness of Alabama’s rich culinary heritage.
“Becoming Alabama,” “Southern Religion,” and “Alabama Women” Departments, Alabama Heritage Magazine
The Summersell Center sponsors a number of standing departments of Alabama Heritage, a quarterly magazine that explores Alabama’s history and culture. Sponsored in cooperation with the University of Alabama Department of History and the Alabama Tourism Department, “Becoming Alabama” commemorates Alabama’s experiences related to the Creek War, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement by publishing short essays describing facets of Alabama’s history as it was 200, 150, and 50 years ago. “Southern Religion,” meanwhile, which ran from 2011-2013, explored the varied faiths and people of faith who have contributed to Alabama’s cultural heritage from the earliest years of human habitation. A new department, “Alabama Women,” will run from 2013-2014 and pursue stories related to the experience of women in Alabama history.
Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center
The Summersell Center participates in and supports the ongoing development of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center. Established by the Scottsboro/Jackson Multi-Cultural Heritage Foundation and opened in 2010, the museum commemorates the lives and legacy of nine young African Americans who, in the 1930s, became international symbols of race-based injustice in the American South, and celebrates the positive actions of those of all colors, creeds and origins who have taken a stand against the tyranny of racial oppression. Working in partnership with the Multi-Cultural Heritage Foundation, a consortium of higher-education institutions throughout the state of Alabama, the Jackson County Legislative Delegation, and the Jackson county Chamber of Commerce, the Summersell Center contributes resources and scholarly expertise toward the advancement of the museum’s research and educational goals. For more about the museum, please visit the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center website.
Frances S. Summersell Publications in the History of the American South
In cooperation with the University of Alabama Press, the Summersell Center will periodically aid in the production and publication of select titles in southern history and culture. The first title in the series, The Yellowhammer War: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama, edited by Kenneth W. Noe, was published in January 2014.