Historical Society to host ‘Evolution of Black Neighborhoods’

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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On Thursday, March 28, the Covington Historical Society will host speaker Justin Rudder for a free, open-to-the-public presentation on the evolution of Black neighborhoods and communities in and around Andalusia.

The talk is made possible by the historical society along with Alabama Humanities Alliance and its Road Scholars program.

Cartography, or mapmaking, has existed since the 7th millennium BC. And well-known maps, just like well-known historical writing, are usually produced by those who exercise political power, overlooking the perspectives of groups who lack power. Rudder’s presentation focuses on the development of Black perspectives of community — including internal understanding of Black settlements often known as “the bottoms” or “the quarters” — as well as discussion of how to share such information with those interested in local history.

A passion for sharing stories from overlooked chapters of the past drives Rudder’s work as a digital asset archivist at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, as well as the preservation services he provides through his Digital Grassroots heritage proprietorship. His articles in Alabama Heritage, the Alabama Review, and the Encyclopedia of Alabama focus on slavery, civil rights, and Black history. Rudder has received the Writer-In-Service award from the Lillian Smith Center, as well as a Joyce Cauthen Fellowship from the Alabama Folklife Association to fund completion of his manuscript, “Black Towns of Alabama: Southern Alabama.”

The event will be held Thursday, March 28, 6 p.m., in the Charles Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.

This event is possible thanks to the Alabama Humanities Alliance’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, which helps communities statewide bring scholar-storytellers to town. AHA’s roster of Road Scholars includes more than 30 historians, professors, authors and other experts who deliver fascinating, humanities-rich presentations year-round — in person or virtually.