Invitation to Join: Alabama Commemorations Discussion
- [This proposal comes from Dr. Ed Bridges, Director of the ADAH...
A.J. Wright // ajwright@... ]
This message is about an idea that has been evolving in discussions
inside the Archives and with several allied organizations and
individuals. The idea is for an informal, statewide, cooperative effort
to make the most of the resources we have in celebrating a remarkable
set of upcoming commemorative events. The idea is summarized in the
draft statement below.
The result of initial conversation has been positive-to the point where
everyone we have talked with agrees we should try to continue the
discussions in an open, brainstorming session. I would like to propose
that we have this expanded meeting on April 2 at 10 AM in the Alabama
Power Company Auditorium of the Archives. I see this as an open
meeting, and anyone who wishes to attend is welcome. If you cannot
attend yourself, we invite you to send a representative.
I have tried to include on this list the state agencies that have a
responsibility for history and culture, as well as other statewide
organizations with a history focus or a focus on any one of the three
anniversaries that are coming up. But I know I have missed groups and
individuals who need to receive this invitation, so I encourage all of
you to pass this invitation along as you see fit.
The staff of the Archives will facilitate this original meeting, but it
will be our plan to pass off the duties for the next meeting-if the
group decides on one-to another institution. My thought is that an
informal group, if it develops, could gather four times a year, in
Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville, and Mobile, but that step is for the
group itself to decide.
For directions and parking, see:
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions,
Ed Bridges 334-242-4441
For Alabama, the period from 2010 to 2015 represents a remarkable
convergence of commemorative events: (1) the bicentennial of the Creek
War and the treaty that opened most of Alabama for settlement, (2) the
sesquicentennial of the Civil War and Emancipation, and (3) the fiftieth
anniversary of many of the most important actions of the Civil Rights
Movement in Alabama.
These anniversaries reflect three landmark upheavals that shaped the
development of our state. And, they present us with a unique
opportunity to reflect both on our heritage and on the common ground of
interest we share in the future.
This proposal is for discussion by interested groups in Alabama of a
possible statewide effort to take advantage of this opportunity. It
does not envision a large, centrally administered campaign, but rather
an open program of voluntary cooperation. Existing organizations could
simply use the ideas and events connected with this commemorative period
in whatever way works for their program needs-with a recognition of what
their fellow organizations are doing and of the fact that they are part
of a larger cooperative effort. It is also an opportunity to enrich
discussion by adding a broader context to the entire commemorative
There may also be ways of securing general public visibility through
participation by major statewide entities such as public television,
public libraries, arts and humanities councils, the Department of
Education, state organizations of teachers, archives, museums, and
historians. Perhaps some kind of periodic (quarterly?) open meeting of
organizational representatives could gather to share ideas and, where
there is interest, develop plans for future efforts.
Although there is a natural ending date in 2015, that time also leads to
the beginning of another major commemorative period celebrating the
bicentennial of statehood. In many ways, the period 2010 to 2015 could
set the ground for that commemoration by its work. A possible theme for
this first period might be something like, "Becoming Alabama."
This draft will be sent to a number of groups that might have a possible
interest in such a cooperative effort. Based on feedback, perhaps the
next step would be a gathering of representatives for a larger
brainstorming session and the drafting of a framework of understanding
under which a statewide cooperative effort might be able to move
For initial responses, please contact Debra Wilkins at the Alabama
Department of Archives and History (334-242-4441 or
ed.bridges@...). Each person who responds will be added
to a contact list for further communications that would lead to an
initial meeting. To ensure a reasonable cut-off for the first round of
responses, please respond by March 31, 2009. After the first meeting,
further coordination will depend on the wishes of those who attend.