An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
Posted on July 30, 2014
by

Michael Camp, Emory University 

in

Southern Spaces is pairing with Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) to publish short features on MARBL collections, events, and exhibits that tell the history of spaces and places in the US South. These posts investigate the geographical, historical, and cultural study of real and imagined southern spaces through the lens of archival sources and materials and are featured on both the Southern Spaces and MARBL blogs.

John Biggers paints House of the Turtle, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, ca. 1990. Photo courtesy of John Biggers's Estate. John Biggers Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
John Biggers paints House of the Turtle, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, ca. 1990. Photo courtesy of John Biggers's Estate. John Biggers Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

In July 1957, Houston-based artist John Biggers traveled on a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) fellowship to Ghana, Nigeria, and Dahomey (now part of Benin) to investigate multiple strands of cultural heritage on the African continent.1 Visiting both rural villages and burgeoning cities, Biggers was particularly struck by Oku Ampofo, a medical doctor and talented artist based near the Ghanaian capital of Accra. In his handwritten travel notes, now located in Emory's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), Biggers described Ampofo as a "true intellectual" who believed "in the building of Africa, in the development of people, in that which is true and good." Biggers believed Ampofo embodied "the New Africa," linking the continent's past with its future through his artwork, which included ebony and mahogany carvings along with cement statues.2 Noting that the "strong and exuberant character, and personality of the African" endured despite "influences from other peoples," Biggers contended in a typed summary of his travels that the "original values of the old African cultures still have profound meaning today."3

Cotton Pickers, 1947. Sketch by John Biggers, depicting his early realist style. Photo courtesy of John Biggers's Estate. John Biggers Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Cotton Pickers, 1947. Sketch by John Biggers, depicting his early realist style. Photo courtesy of John Biggers's Estate. John Biggers Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Throughout his long career, Biggers struggled to create works that would, like Ampofo's, both honor the legacies of the past and look hopefully toward the future. Biggers's own art engaged the experiences of African Americans in the US South. Much like West Africans who were grappling with the inheritances of colonialism, African Americans lived daily with the reality of being both African and American. Over the course of a multi-decade career, Biggers struggled to adequately express this tension.4 While his early pieces adhered to European styles of realism, Biggers's later work began to incorporate more stylized and symbolic elements drawn from African traditions, creating a hybrid style of realistic and abstract forms. Biggers also collected African sculptures, studying each piece in his home until its meaning revealed itself to him. Biggers worked (sometimes to the point of exhaustion) to meld African images with the iconography of the US South to create works that could provide African Americans with a sense of artistic identity.5

As part of his mission to illuminate African American experiences, Biggers helped found the Art Department at Houston's Texas Southern University (TSU) and served as its first head.6 Students responded enthusiastically to his direction. In March 1978, as part of a celebration of Biggers's thirtieth anniversary at TSU, a number of former students wrote to express gratitude to their teacher. "Thanks for being a guiding light for young black artists," wrote one, adding thanks for "inspiring blackness as a true meaning towards creative expression."7 A long-time colleague remembered, "the Joy of those kids who sat at your feet and learned the Beauty of their race and a measure of self-pride, myself included."8

House of the Turtle, pre-installation, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, ca. 1992. Mural by John Biggers. Photo courtesy of John Biggers's Estate. John Biggers Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
House of the Turtle, pre-installation, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, ca. 1992. Mural by John Biggers. Photo courtesy of John Biggers's Estate. John Biggers Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Biggers's blending of different symbols and traditions came to its most mature form in a pair of murals, Tree House and House of the Turtle, begun in 1990 at Virginia’s Hampton University and painted with the help of the artist's nephew James.9 Both murals include abstract and symbolic images, but House of the Turtle in particular engages Hampton's origins as a school for the children of slaves (and for the children of Native Americans). The top of the mural depicts two students of African descent holding a lamp and a flower, symbols of growth and illumination. Though stylized African forms appear throughout House of the Turtle, the triangular shape at the top of the mural evokes the "shotgun houses" of Biggers's North Carolina youth, a motif that appears throughout his works.10

Though John Biggers passed away in 2001, his first-hand account of the 1957 trip to West Africa offers researchers a perspective from which to understand Biggers’s artistic motivations. In addition to diaries and accounts from the trip, the John Biggers papers in MARBL also contain correspondence, writings, photographs, and other materials illuminating Biggers's lengthy career as an artist, educator, university administrator, and community activist. Reflecting MARBL's commitment to collecting and preserving the work of important African American artists, Biggers's papers join the collections of other notable artists of his generation, including those of Benny Andrews and Mildred S. Thompson.

About the Author

Michael Camp is a graduate processing assistant in MARBL and a PhD student in the department of History at Emory University. He received his BA in History from the University of Tennessee and his MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago.

  • 1. Biggers published a book after his trip titled Ananse: the Web of Life in Africa, three copies of which are available in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, including two that were Biggers's personal copies and one that belonged to African American composer William Levi Dawson.
  • 2. John Biggers, typescript draft of travel diary, July 4, 1957, John Biggers Papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library, Emory University.
  • 3. John Biggers, typescript draft of travel diary, John Biggers Papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library, Emory University.
  • 4. W.E.B, Du Bois, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), wrote passionately about this "double consciousness" of African American identity. MARBL and Woodruff Library contain extensive holdings of The Crisis, the NAACP's official journal.
  • 5. Olive Jensen Theisen, Walls that Speak: The Murals of John Biggers (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2010), 70-73.
  • 6. TSU, a historically black university (HBCU), was established in 1927 as the private Houston Colored Junior College. It was converted into a public institution and renamed Texas State University for Negroes in 1947, and in 1951 was renamed again as Texas Southern University.
  • 7. Curtis Watson, Jr. to John Biggers, March 1978, and Al Blair to John Biggers, March 1978, John Biggers Papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library, Emory University.
  • 8. Al Blair, letter to John Biggers, March 1978, John Biggers Papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library, Emory University.
  • 9. Hampton Institute, also an HBCU, was founded in 1868 by members the American Missionary Association to provide education to former slaves. It established a program for teaching Native Americans in 1878, a project that lasted until 1923. With the addition of several academic programs, the Institute became Hampton University in 1984.
  • 10. Theisen, Walls that Speak, 100-03.
Posted on July 17, 2014
by

Maureen McGavin, Emory University

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Confederate fort near Atlanta, Georgia, part of the city's inner ring of fortification, 1864. Photographic print by George H. Barnard. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
Confederate fort near Atlanta, Georgia, part of the city's inner ring of fortification, 1864. Photographic print by George H. Barnard. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library continues to celebrate the launch of the Battle of Atlanta mobile tour website and commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle with a presentation and exhibit of materials on Thursday, July 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Joseph W. Jones Room.

Developed by the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS), the smartphone-friendly tour provides GPS directions and mapping, historical information about each of its twelve stops, and multimedia content including video and historical images. It is accessible via a web link, BattleATL.org, and requires no download.

The event will include a talk about the context and legacy of the July 22, 1864, battle by Daniel Pollock, project lead and Civil War scholar; a demonstration of the mobile tour by Brian Croxall, project manager and ECDS digital humanities strategist; and a presentation on the Civil War collections at Emory's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). Randy Gue, MARBL curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections, will discuss stories and perspectives on the Battle that emerge from MARBL's Union, Confederate, and civilian collections.

"MARBL has a range of materials that document the Civil War, and statistically they represent some of our highest-use collections," Gue said. "It is exciting to see the library and ECDS develop tools that transform historical items and data from archives with digital technology. The Battle of Atlanta mobile tour website represents a new, interactive way to learn."

Erica Bruchko, US history and African American studies librarian at the Woodruff library said that the exhibit, "Mobilizing the Battle of Atlanta," chronicles how the tour application was created and the research that went into it. Bruchko, Croxall, Pollock, and ECDS Andrew W. Mellon graduate fellow Chris Sawula curated the exhibit, which will remain on view through October 19, 2014.

Dolly Lunt Burge, whose diary is in the exhibit, wrote about the Battle sounds she could hear from her home in Covington, Georgia. Courtesy Civil War collections, MARBL, Emory University.
Dolly Lunt Burge, whose diary is in the exhibit, wrote about the Battle sounds she could hear from her home in Covington, Georgia. Courtesy Civil War collections, MARBL, Emory University.

Among the historical materials on display will be photographs, letters, lithographs, newspaper clippings, postcards, maps, and the diary of Dolly Lunt Burge, who described hearing the Battle of Atlanta—one of the biggest in the final months of the Civil War—from as far away as Covington, Georgia. The exhibit will also include some items that do not appear on the digital tour.

Team members compare the stops along the mobile tour to a kind of twenty-first century historical marker—one that can hold an unlimited amount of text, accommodate images and video, and can be updated as new research comes to light.

Project members drew on Pollock's research to pinpoint twelve significant areas—most now unrecognizable due to the city's growth—and created a GPS-guided tour enhanced with information and images gathered from various institutions' archives during months of research. When the ECDS team could not find an application with the precise features they needed, they created their own open-source software.

"While many people in Atlanta know there was a Civil War battle here, very few of them could show you where it happened. Our digital tour takes you to the exact location of twelve significant moments in the Battle of Atlanta," Croxall said. "To learn that the first shots were fired near a local high school or to realize that its most ferocious fighting took place along your commute at what's now the intersection of Interstate 20 and Moreland Avenue, helps you see the city in a new, historical context."

The exhibit will be on display outside ECDS on level three, near the Joseph W. Jones Room where the presentation and demonstration will be held. Light refreshments will be served.

The Robert W. Woodruff Library is located at 540 Asbury Circle in Atlanta, Georgia 30322. Parking is available in the Fishburne parking deck.

Posted on July 16, 2014
by

Maureen McGavin, Emory University

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Confederate and Union troops in close combat, Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama, Atlanta, Georgia, 1886. Painting by the Atlanta Panorama Company.
Confederate and Union troops in close combat, Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama, Atlanta, Georgia, 1886. Painting by the Atlanta Panorama Company.

As the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta approaches, the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS) at Emory University has launched a self-guided mobile tour of Battle-related sites throughout the city, complete with maps, historical information, photos and videos, and even parking suggestions for those who drive the route.

The app launched with a celebration and demonstration held Wednesday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum. Another event, planned for Thursday July 17 at Emory's Robert W. Woodruff Library, will include a small exhibit of historical photos and materials from its Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) related to the Civil War and the Battle of Atlanta, which took place July 22, 1864.

Designed to enrich people's understanding of Atlanta and its history, the smartphone-friendly tour provides GPS directions and mapping, historical information about each of its twelve stops, and multimedia content including video and historical images. It requires no download and is accessible via a web link, BattleAtl.org.

The mobile tour is part of an ECDS team project that includes Daniel Pollock, a physician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a Battle of Atlanta scholar; Allen Tullos, ECDS co-director and Emory history professor; Brian Croxall, project coordinator and ECDS digital humanities strategist; Jay Varner, chief software developer for the project; Kevin Glover, Emory web developer; Chris Sawula, history graduate student, ECDS fellow, and photo researcher; and Erica Bruchko, a U.S. history and African American studies librarian at the Woodruff library.

Digital mapping that matched each historical spot with its modern-day location was done by geospatial librarian Michael Page, another member of the project team.

The Troup Hurt House and the four-gun DeGress Battery, which were temporarily captured by Confederate infantry on the afternoon of July 22, 1864, Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama, Atlanta, Georgia, 1886. Painting by the Atlanta Panorama Company.
The Troup Hurt House and the four-gun DeGress Battery, which were temporarily captured by Confederate infantry on the afternoon of July 22, 1864, Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama, Atlanta, Georgia, 1886. Painting by the Atlanta Panorama Company.

The stops are set up in chronological order of the Battle's events, but the tour can be stopped or started at any point. It concludes at the Atlanta Cyclorama, where an enormous circular painting of the Battle of Atlanta is displayed.

"Atlanta played a significant role in the Civil War," Pollock says. "The Battle of Atlanta was a turning point in a very important campaign that began in early May 1864 and culminated with the fall of Atlanta on September 2. It was the biggest battle in that campaign and the most consequential, and it took place in our midst."

The mobile tour gives visitors a chance to remember the Battle's significant moments in the areas where they happened: Union General William Sherman's headquarters during the Battle, on the campus of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library; Confederate General John B. Hood's vantage point for the Battle, within what is now Oakland Cemetery; Fort Walker, marked by an earthen mound in Grant Park that was part of the Confederate defense that encircled the city; the area where the Battle of Atlanta began, now occupied by Alonzo Crim High School; the spot where Union General James McPherson was killed, marked by an upright cannon monument at McPherson and Monument avenues; and Leggett's Hill, where the Battle's most ferocious fighting took place, now the intersection of Moreland Avenue and I-20, to name just a few.

Many important Battle of Atlanta sites have been replaced by service stations, interstates, buildings, and other signs of urban growth. Still, there are surviving topographical features of the sprawling battlefield and many reminders of key events, recorded on historical markers placed just prior to the Civil War centennial in the 1950s, Pollock says.

"This application is the 21st century version of a historical marker," Croxall adds. "Markers only fit so much text, and you don't know they're there until you come across them." Another benefit is that ECDS licensed the tour software as open-source and will make it available to others who want to create their own tours, Croxall says.

Atlanta was a thriving Southern urban area prior to the Battle. Wet plate negative by George Barnard. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
Atlanta was a thriving Southern urban area prior to the Battle. Wet plate negative by George Barnard. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

Pollock had been studying the Battle of Atlanta for more than twenty years and giving periodic tours when his friend, Tullos, suggested that his tour could be turned into a self-guided, GPS-driven mobile app with ECDS's help. Work on the project began in August 2012.

The mobile tour is a companion piece to Daniel Pollock's article "The Battle of Atlanta: History and Remembrance," published on May 30 in Southern Spaces, an Emory-based digital, peer-reviewed journal now in its tenth year. The article, written by Pollock, provides expanded information about the Battle of Atlanta and the twelve tour stops.

"It's been exciting to work on, and it's been a very collaborative project," says Tullos, who also serves as senior editor of Southern Spaces. He adds the project was particularly rewarding for Pollock, who not only has been able to share his knowledge of the Battle of Atlanta with a wider audience, but also acquired a great collection of images from reunion events that occurred for decades after the Civil War. Those images will be accessible via the Southern Spaces article.

Posted on June 18, 2014
by

Claire Ittner, Emory University

in

Southern Spaces is pairing with Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) to publish short features on MARBL collections, events, and exhibits that tell the history of spaces and places in the US South. These posts investigate the geographical, historical, and cultural study of real and imagined southern spaces through the lens of archival sources and materials and are featured on both the Southern Spaces and MARBL blogs.

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. prints, Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. prints, Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.'s posters and artists' books memorialize and celebrate African American history and culture. His work, housed in the Kennedy & Sons Collection in Emory's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), tells complex, personal, and painful stories that contribute to a new vernacular in the depiction and description of African American experience in the United States. In describing his work, Kennedy writes, "I am a SOCIAL PRINTER! Whatever I print—because my work is dedicated to the documentation of Negro culture—whatever I print is political."1 Kennedy's posters, on which he literally spells out his messages, are the most blatant example of the political nature of his work. The two posters that bear the text "Equality is a Privilege Reserved for Blacks" and "Coffee Makes You Black" demonstrate that Kennedy's voice is both witty and insistent, challenging the viewer to reconsider perceptions of black culture, history, and art.

A self-described "humble negro printer," Kennedy creates many of his letterpress posters and postcards on commission. In the 2008 documentary Proceed and Be Bold!, which explores Kennedy's life and artistic output, Kennedy stated, "I don't believe in the thing called art . . . I think people just make stuff."2 Following this artistic vision, many of Kennedy's prints function as both advertisements and art, emerging from and responding to the idiosyncratic needs of the communities they illustrate and inhabit. As an artist, Kennedy has lived and worked in the rural towns of Gordo and York, Alabama, as well as the urban center of Detroit, Michigan, where he currently resides.

Print from The Children Don't Count Exhibit, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Print from The Children Don't Count Exhibit, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Kennedy relies less on traditional locales for exhibiting his art, such as galleries or museum spaces, and instead prefers more direct and democratic communication with the public. He sells prints online for $25 and in-person at local fairs. When he exhibits his work in museum spaces, Kennedy utilizes the space in both creative and political ways. For example, viewing the gallery exhibition of Kennedy's The Children Don't Count, a multiyear project dedicated to children killed in Chicago in the early 1990s, required visitors to walk over a series of prints bearing the name of a child and how his or her death occurred. Sample prints from the first instance of The Children Don't Count in MARBL's Kennedy & Sons collection remembers Chicago children who died in 1992.

The activist motivations that undergird much of Kennedy's work inflect his artist's book sculpture of a burned church included in MARBL's Kennedy and Sons collection. This piece takes its inspiration from the series of arsons of African American churches that swept the southern United States in the 1990s, echoing similar church burnings that took place during the civil rights movement. These incidents, which occurred at predominantly black rural churches from Arkansas to Virginia, targeted the very places that writer Amiri Baraka has described as the "social focal points" of black life.3 Kennedy's "Burnt Church" is part of a series he is creating to commemorate these recent burnings; "One . . . for every church," Kennedy writes about the project that is at once art, protest, and community rebuilding.4

Burned church artist's book, exterior, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. Burned church artist's book, interior, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.
Burned church artist's book, exterior, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. Burned church artist's book, interior, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Kennedy and Sons Collection, Emory University Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.

Kennedy's artists' books combine the written word he privileges in his posters with the provocative space of a church building decorated with long strips of bible pages that leap almost flame-like across the model building and onto its roof. The words of varying size and font wrap the building with flowing ribbons of text. While some of the text is legible, its function here is not to represent a literal, scriptural message, but rather to emphasize the power of the biblical words that survived the church burnings. The building itself, despite the ruin and decline suggested by the ashes scattered below it, emanates an otherworldly power. Upon close examination of the model building, it is apparent that the roof of the church can be lifted, revealing a charred Bible nestled in its core. The experience of opening the church sculpture is akin to that of opening a treasure chest: awe, disbelief and a certain reverence. In addition to highlighting the power of the violence that resulted in the series of fires the model church commemorates, Kennedy's sculpture emphasizes the imminent power of the communities and their sacred texts that have survived.

MARBL's collecting strength in black print culture also includes the papers of Carter G. Woodson and Kelly Miller, both notable African American artists and intellectuals. Kennedy's addition of this living memorial to MARBL joins the numerous collections in the archives documenting African American history and culture, all of which are available for further reexamination, interpretation, and study by researchers, scholars, and the general public.

About the Author

Claire Ittner graduated from Davidson College with a degree in English and Art History. She worked as a project researcher at MARBL until May 2014, and is now working in the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University.

  • 1. Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., "Social Book Binding," in Talking the Boundless Book: Art, Language, and the Book Arts, ed. Charles Alexander (Minneapolis: Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1995), 47.
  • 2. Proceed and be Bold!, directed by Laura Zinger (Chicago: Brown Finch Films, 2008), DVD.
  • 3. LeRoi Jones, Blues People: Negro Music in White America (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1963), 40-41.
  • 4. Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., letter to author, March 14, 2014, Kennedy and Sons Collection, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University Archives.
Posted on May 20, 2014
by

Jesse P. Karlsberg, Emory University

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Masthead for The Southern Quarterly, A Journal of Arts and Letters in the South.

The Southern Quarterly has issued a call for papers for an upcoming special issue on the significance of the Mississippi River in works of creative expression. From The Southern Quarterly:

Editor: Philip Kolin, The University of Southern Mississippi

Publication Schedule: Volume 52, no. 3 (Spring 2015)

Call: The Southern Quarterly invites submissions for a special issue devoted to the lower Mississippi River as an icon for the twentieth-century South. We are looking for scholarly articles, archival documents, and interviews (but no poetry) on the symbolic importance of the river for and in Southern poetry and fiction, film, music, popular culture, and art. Interdisciplinary articles that focus on more than one of these areas are especially welcome. Manuscripts should run between twenty to twenty-five pages (double-spaced) and follow the MLA style of documentation. Please query Philip Kolin with any questions about your submission.

SoQ does not consider multiple submissions or work that has been approved elsewhere. Please follow the SoQ guidelines, which are available online. For consideration for this special issue, please submit original manuscripts by November 1, 2014.

Email submissions of Microsoft Word documents to SouthernQuarterly@gmail.com are preferred over postal delivery.

About the Journal: The Southern Quarterly is an internationally-known scholarly journal devoted to the interdisciplinary study of Southern arts and culture. For SoQ, "the arts" is defined broadly, and includes painting, sculpture, music, dance, poetry, photography, and popular culture. We also publish studies of Southern culture from such disciplines as literature, folklore, anthropology, and history. "The South" is defined as the region south of the Mason Dixon Line, including the Caribbean and Latin America. Regular features include reviews of books and films, periodic reviews of exhibitions and performances, as well as interviews with writers and artists.

Posted on April 8, 2014
by

Sean T. Suarez, MARBL, Emory University

in

Southern Spaces is pairing with Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) to publish short features on MARBL collections, events, and exhibits that tell the history of spaces and places in the US South. These posts investigate the geographical, historical, and cultural study of real and imagined southern spaces through the lens of archival sources and materials and are featured on both the Southern Spaces and MARBL blogs.

Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, December 14, 2006. Photograph by Brett Weinstein. Released under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.
Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, December 14, 2006. Photograph by Brett Weinstein. Released under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Imagine you are facing north from the main quadrangle of Emory University in Atlanta. Rising from the foreground of Emory's gray-pink marble halls and terra cotta roofs, shimmering against a limpid Georgia sky, the glassy towers of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hover into focus. Surrounded by fences and walls, the CDC campus appears impenetrable. Imposing security gates and high modern façades add a sense of permanence that belies the agency's earliest beginnings in rural South Georgia. Assimilating diverse research agendas, the CDC has worked to eradicate innumerable diseases in the postwar period and its mandate has assumed an international scope. But the CDC's broad mission and glimmering campus were preceded in the early twentieth century by a simple headquarters of wooden frame buildings and one highly localized disease endemic to the Lowland South: malaria.

Mosquito collection, Emory University Field Station on Ichauway Plantation, ca. 1938-1945. United States Public Health Services Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.
Mosquito collection, Emory University Field Station on Ichauway Plantation, Baker County, Georgia, ca. 1938–1945. Photograph by United States Public Health Services Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Housed in Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, the papers of epidemiologist, educator, and early CDC administrator Melvin Harris Goodwin (1917–2004) narrate the movement of malaria research from Georgia's southern hinterlands to its capital in Atlanta—and the eventual consolidation of that research under the auspices of a sprawling federal agency devoted to disease control and eradication.

Melvin Goodwin's career began in 1936 when he became the summertime assistant to Roy A. Hill, a South Georgia physician who specialized in the treatment of malaria. Hill contracted with regional drug companies that had begun synthesizing new antimalarials like Atabrine. Using these products alongside quinine—the centuries-old fever reducer now mainly recognized for the bitter taste it gives to tonic water—Hill canvassed the farmlands between Thomasville and Tallahassee providing medical care to malaria-carrying rural laborers. Chronic and ubiquitous, malaria not only affected the health of laborers, but sapped the region's production capacity as well. Goodwin would recall the staggering prevalence of malaria throughout the South in an interview nearly thirty years later:

. . . Every commercial and educational activity had to plan on living with malaria. For instance . . . the Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company in Taylor County, Florida, where we worked in 1936–1937 employed about 700 people to maintain a working force of 300. More than half of the crew was ill with malaria at all times during the malaria season. The workers would actually plan to work in anticipation of their malarial attacks . . . This was expected as a way of life.1

Melvin Harris Goodwin, on left, at the Emory University Field Station. Baker County, Georgia. Photograph. Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Melvin Harris Goodwin, on left, at the Emory University Field Station, Baker County, Georgia. Photograph. Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

In the summer of 1938, Hill began administering treatments at Ichauway Plantation in Baker County, Georgia. It was here that the young Goodwin, still an undergraduate at Emory College, met Ichauway owner and Coca-Cola executive Robert W. Woodruff. Woodruff had attended Emory College prior to its relocation to Atlanta from the original Oxford campus and remained a loyal supporter of the university as it began developing graduate and professional programs, including a School of Medicine in 1915. Woodruff understood malaria as a major impediment to social and economic development in the southern states and suggested the creation of an epidemiological research center to be headquartered at Ichauway. In a meeting with Goodwin and several university administrators, Woodruff arranged institutional support for an Emory-run epidemiological research station to be overseen and staffed by Emory's medical school. With Goodwin as its assistant director, this research center was established as the Emory University Field Station in April 1939. Its first offices were located in a vacant polling station owned by the county, but its facilities expanded alongside research activity, with several new buildings being erected by the mid-1940s. Shaded by live oaks and Spanish moss, the field station's wooden frame laboratories dotted one corner of the vast rural estate.

Women receive health services, Emory University Field Station on Ichuaway Plantation, ca. 1938-1945. United States Public Health Services Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Books Library, Emory University.
Women receive health services, Emory University Field Station on Ichauway Plantation, ca. 1938–1945, Baker County, Georgia. Photograph by United States Public Health Services Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

As the United States entered the Second World War, operations at the field station were temporarily suspended. More importantly, the declaration of war would transform the priorities and architecture of epidemiological research in America for decades to come. Just months before Pearl Harbor, Goodwin could still speak of malaria as a regional issue:

. . . it is proper to state that malaria has assumed an important role in the social and economic retardation of the South. To make the affected area attractive to the outside capitol [sic] necessary for industrial and agricultural exploitation, malaria must be controlled. To control malaria economically and efficiently, more fundamental knowledge about it is required. This is both the reason and the objective of malaria research.2

Almost immediately upon Congress's declarations of war in December 1941, however, malaria emerged as a paramount international health concern for the United States military. Deployment of American soldiers to the Pacific theater, where malarious conditions prevailed, made the disease a matter of national urgency. No longer could Americans ignore malaria as the peculiar scourge of rural southern laborers.

The exigencies of war demanded cooperation and consolidation in various industries; epidemiological research was no exception. Shortly after America's entry into the war, the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) absorbed the Emory University Field Station at Ichauway. A commissioned officer in the USPHS, Goodwin split time between the Field Station in Baker County and the recently established Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (MCWA) in Atlanta. Organized in 1942, the MCWA was the direct institutional predecessor to the modern CDC. Incorporating previously independent endeavors, it served as the umbrella organization for all research aimed at malaria treatment and prevention among American soldiers. If Goodwin's own résumé is representative, Emory University, the USPHS, and the MCWA shared staff unquestioningly.

CDC Bulletin, July, August, September, 1946. Courtesy of MARBL, Emory University.
CDC Bulletin, July – September, 1946. Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Goodwin's papers in the Emory University Archives illumine his, and the Emory University Field Station's, centrality to the early project of disease control in America and cast light on the importance of malaria in the creation of a national disease control apparatus. They also conjure a deeply personal foundation of the CDC whose future, like its past, extends far beyond its glistening Atlanta laboratories. Like the war, however, the MCWA did not last forever. The long-awaited peace in 1945 required its own set of reorganizational efforts, leading to the dissolution of the MCWA the following year. Based in Atlanta, the CDC was born as its successor—first as the Communicable Disease Center and only later, in 1970, renamed the Center for Disease Control. As an early cover of the CDC Bulletin indicates, it is difficult to overestimate the centrality of malaria research, treatment, and eradication to the early history of the organization that became the CDC. Much like Goodwin—who would direct the CDC's satellite at Ichauway until 1957 before leaving to direct a new CDC facility in Arizona—the Emory University Field Station had been absorbed as a foundational component of an increasingly vast national agency. Both Goodwin and the Ichauway station would remain operational, at least temporarily. As the CDC began to consolidate itself, administratively and geographically, around a few central buildings in Atlanta, both the South Georgia station and its longtime director became increasingly peripheral to the operations of a burgeoning federal agency.

About the Author

Sean T. Suarez is a doctoral student in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. His research explores transformations in science, technology, and religion in the nineteenth-century United States. He has studied religion at Yale University and the University of the South, and is a lifelong lover of maps.

  • 1. Melvin H. Goodwin, Interview with Boisfeuillet Jones and Hunter Bell, August 10, 1966, Box 1, Folder 7, Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.
  • 2. Melvin H. Goodwin, Briefing Memorandum on Emory University Field Station, 1941, Box 1, Folder 7, Melvin H. Goodwin papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.
Posted on March 3, 2014
by

Jesse P. Karlsberg, Emory University, and Sarah V. Melton, Emory University

in

Southern Spaces is now offering authors the option of distributing new work published in the journal under a Creative Commons license. Beginning in 2014, in addition to retaining copyright of their work, authors may now elect to license their work under the following Creative Commons licenses.

Creative Commons loves Open Access, 2014. A derivative work based on an illustration by Jan Ainali. Released under a CC BY SA license by Southern Spaces.
Creative Commons loves Open Access, 2014. A derivative work based on an illustration by Jan Ainali. Released under a CC BY SA license by Southern Spaces.
  • Using a CC BY (attribution) license, authors allow their work to be freely distributed, copied, and performed, as long as users give credit to the original work. A CC BY license also allows for derivative works. An author might choose this license if she wants to provide the greatest opportunity for reuse.
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  • A CC BY-NC (attribution, non-commercial) license allows for copies, distribution, display, or performances of a work by attribution, but only for non-commercial uses. This license also allows for derivative works. Authors might choose this license if they wish to prohibit commercial publishers from republishing their work without obtaining further explicit permission. Authors should be aware that since much academic publishing is commercial, this license may "discourag[e] or at least slow . . . down [commercial] re-use of [their] content by requiring that people ask . . . permission."2
  • The CC BY-NC-ND (attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives) license is the most restrictive choice offered by Southern Spaces. Users may copy, distribute, display, or perform a work, but only for non-commercial purposes. No derivative works are permitted. Authors might choose this license if they wish to encourage greater distribution of their work without permission than would be possible if retaining copyright, but restrict commercial entities from republishing their scholarship, and prohibit all users from making modifications to their work without permission.

Our decision to offer these options is an example of our ongoing evaluation of how to manifest our journal's commitment to open access publishing. By providing greater reuse rights through adopting a Creative Commons license, authors gain the potential to increase the reach and future use of their scholarship.3

Creative Commons licenses also provide an attribution requirement, which is particularly relevant to scholarly publishing but is not included in US Copyright Law.4 Attribution through citations is an important component of scholarly integrity, providing readers with the means to follow a scholar's arguments. Citation counts are also used to assist tenure and promotion committees in assessing a scholar's impact and productivity.5

The publishers of the Public Library of Science (PLOS) have described open access as a spectrum, prompting a move "beyond the deceptively simple question of, 'Is It Open Access?' toward a more productive evaluation of 'HowOpenIsIt?'" Among PLOS's criteria for gauging where a publication lies on the open access spectrum are "reuse" and "copyright." For PLOS, "closed access" means "no reuse rights beyond fair use/limitations and exceptions to copyright (all rights reserved copyright)." PLOS ranks various Creative Commons licenses on its spectrum of openness, characterizing CC BY-ND licenses as midway between open and closed, CC BY-NC licenses as occupying a middle ground, and CC BY licenses as the gold standard for open access.6

Our decision to have authors retain their copyright and give authors the choice among four Creative Commons licenses is based on our desire to balance our commitment to open access with a desire to serve our authors' professional aspirations and respect their choices. Authors may wish to retain some say over who reuses their work, and under what conditions. Some publishers, for example, have stringent requirements about the licensing of previously published works. Retaining copyright can be important for authors who are working on book manuscripts or other projects that may incorporate pieces published elsewhere, especially those authors seeking tenure or promotion. While we encourage the free circulation of information, we believe it is unfair to impose reuse requirements on authors—particularly given the imperatives of "publish or perish" and instability in hiring in higher education.

This new author agreement represents the journal's parallel commitments to open access and to supporting authors of all academic ranks, including those outside the academy. We encourage interested authors to contact us with any questions about our new licensing options, and we look forward to participating in further conversations about open access and author's rights.

See and share the infographic below on Southern Spaces's new author agreement.

  • 1. "17 US Code, Chapter 1, Section 101–Definitions," Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School, accessed February 10, 2014, http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/101.
  • 2. Bethany Nowiskie, "Why, Oh Why, CC-BY?" nowviskie.org, May 11, 2011, accessed February 10, 2014, http://nowviskie.org/2011/why-oh-why-cc-by/.
  • 3. At present, there have been no studies on the effects of Creative Commons licensing on future use of scholarship. However, scholars such as informatics professor Dr. Mathias Klang have reported that their Creative Commons–-licensed work has gained more exposure than other publications. See Mathias Klang, "The Advantages of Creative Commons in Academia," SpotOn, October 17, 2012, accessed February 18, 2014, http://www.nature.com/spoton/2012/10/the-advantages-of-creative-commons-in-academia/.
  • 4. For more on attribution and US as well as European copyright law, see Christopher Jon Springman, Christopher J. Buccafusco, and Zachary C. Burns, "What's a Name Worth?: Experimental Tests of the Value of Attribution in Intellectual Property," Boston University Law Review 93 (2013): 101–147, http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1732&context=fac_schol.
  • 5. New citation analysis tools such as Google Scholar cast an unprecedentedly wide net in identifying sources in which to search for citations, perhaps making requiring attribution—already assumed in traditional scholarly publishing—more consequential. On the use of citation counts and related metrics in tenure and promotion decision-making, see, for example, Henk F. Moed, Citation Analysis in Research Evaluation (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2005). The merits of favoring citation counts in tenure and promotion decisions have long been debated, sometimes charmingly so, as in Eugene Garfield, "Citation Frequency as a Measure of Research Activity and Performance," in Essays of an Information Scientist, ed. Eugene Garfield (Philadelphia: ISI Press, 1977), 406–408.
  • 6. "HowOpenIsIt?: Open Access Spectrum (OAS)," Public Library of Science, 2013, accessed February 3, 2014, http://www.plos.org/open-access/howopenisit/.