NEH Grant Project

ADAH staff has completed work on a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project, which began in October 1993, focused on processing public and private materials documenting Alabama's response to the social and political changes that occurred during the turbulent years of the mid-20th century. The project specifically centered on the years spanning 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court made the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, to 1979, the end of Governor George Wallace's third term in office.

Public records processed as a result of the project include gubernatorial records of James E. "Big Jim" Folsom, John Patterson, George C. Wallace, Lurleen Wallace, and Albert Brewer. These records include administrative files, legal advisors' files, press releases, speeches, and scrapbooks. In addition to the information they present on state politics and issues, the gubernatorial records also document the rising tide of public opinion on civil rights issues, both on the state and national level.

Other public records processed include the files of the Alabama Sovereignty Commission. Although not as detailed as the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission files which have attracted much attention this year, they still provide some interesting information. Of special interest are the files dealing with the movie the commission produced on the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The film itself has been copied to videotape and can be requested by researchers interested in viewing it on the department's premises.

Private collections that have been processed include the records of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama, Samuel Englehardt papers, and George C. Wallace 1976 presidential campaign records. The bulk of the presidential campaign records relates to the 1976 campaign and Wallace's return to politics after the 1972 assassination attempt left him paralyzed. The strengths of this collection lie in the financial materials which provide insight into the fiscal and logisitical aspects of running a national campaign and in the correspondence from followers which illustrates Wallace's grassroots appeal.

Other private collections include the George C. Wallace colleciton and the Cornelia Wallace collection. The latter, notable for the picture it provides of her life with Wallace, was damaged in the 1990 flood in Elba, AL. The George Wallace collection documents his political career. A number of artifacts from this collection have been separated from the papers and have become a part of the museum's holdings. These artifacts range from artwork and personally crafted gifts from constituents to campaign memorabilia.

Researchers interested in looking at any of these records can do so in the department's Archival Reference area. For more information, contact the Archival Reference desk at (334) 242-4435, ext. 252.

Return to ADAH Homepage

ADAH logo
Created: 08/20/98