An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
Posted on November 1, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University

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The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

  • As a follow up to our Open Access Week blog post, we are sharing this one-hour webcast from the blog of the Association of Research Libraries which features attorneys and advocates involved in the recent Authors Guild v. HathiTrust case summarizing the ruling and its implications for libraries.
  • In Florida, recently enacted changes to the early voting schedule have altered the ways in which African American churches organize their early voting campaigns. According to Susan Saulny of The New York Times, these campaigns to get "souls to the polls" were energized by the decision to eliminate six days of early voting which was legislated by the Republican State Legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott. While the reduction in early voting was enacted in order to prevent voter fraud, some African Americans in Florida feel that the changes target African American voters, who turned out at twice the rate of white voters in 2008 when President Barack Obama won the state.
  • In a recent review essay, Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker surveys works which he considers to be part of a "renaissance of geographic history." Gopnik argues that new works in the field ask future historians to consider how space and place retain some primacy in historical narratives, which will force them to "make more modest claims for abstract ideas and modern machines than [they] like to." He suggests that such modesty will allow for more nuanced examinations of the interplay between "big" ideas and individual places. It is this connection between local agricultural knowledge and "big" ideological shifts regarding sustainability in agriculture which the authors of our two featured Southern Spaces essays explore. Charles D. Thompson, Jr. describes the local conditions for the growth of sustainable agriculture in Cuba in "Visions for Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba and the United States: Changing Minds and Models through Exchange," and Brian C. Campbell uncovers how local traditions of biodiversity rooted in place persisted despite technological advancements in farming in "'Closest to Everlastin'': Ozark Agricultural Biodiversity and Subsistence Traditions." 
Posted on October 31, 2012
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Daniel W. Patterson, University of North Carolina

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William Simpson gravestone (1777), Stone Cemetery, Chester County, South Carolina, March 1996.
William Simpson gravestone (1777), Stone Cemetery, Chester County, South Carolina, March 1996.
Rear faces of gravestones carved by Laurence Crone, McGavock Family Cemetery, Fort Chiswell, Wythe County, Virginia, August 1978.
Rear faces of gravestones carved by Laurence Crone, McGavock Family Cemetery, Fort Chiswell, Wythe County, Virginia, August 1978. From Daniel Patterson, The True Image (read an essay excerpted from the book). Used with permission of the University of North Carolina Press.
Posted on October 23, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University

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Open Access Week

This week (October 22–28, 2012) is the sixth annual Open Access Week, a global event which presents opportunities for the academic and research community to celebrate and learn more about the potential benefits of Open Access. Because Southern Spaces is an open access journal, we thought that it would be appropriate for us to share the details of a recent legal challenge to the access and preservation of library books on the blog as a part of our contribution to spreading awareness (and celebrating!) this week.

On October 10, Harold Baer, Federal District Judge of the Second District of New York, handed down his decision in The Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust. HathiTrust is a digital repository in partnership with over sixty major research institutions and libraries "working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future." The Authors Guild is group which advocates "for writers' interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts and free expression." The Authors Guild's suit alleged that the massive digitization and preservation effort undertaken by the HathiTrust and its affiliates represented a copyright violation. The HathiTrust countered that their digitization project is fair use because it is intended to preserve print materials in perpetuity, give access to print-disabled readers as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and enable non-expressive uses like comprehensive word searches, text mining, and data analysis. 

Baer's ruling represented a major victory for the HathiTrust, its affiliates, and fair use advocates. Below is a "score card" of the results of the ruling written by Matthew Sag, an Associate Professor of Law at Loyola University of Chicago who is an expert in copyright law. In his blog post on the case, "HathiTrust Wins on Fair Use, and just about everything else," he included the following list of the judge's findings:

  • Digitization to provide access for the print-disabled held to be transformative use and, on balance, fair use.
  • Digitization to provide for print-disabled students held to be (i) an obligation of universities under the ADA, (ii) fair use under section 107 of the Copyright Act and (iii) enabled by section 121 of the Copyright Act.
  • Section 108 the Copyright Act was held to expand the rights of libraries, not limit the scope of their fair use rights in any way, shape or form. Given the text says "Nothing in this section . . . in any way affects the right of fair use as provided by section 107" any ruling to the contrary would have been pretty shocking.
  • Digitization to create a search index held to be a transformative use, and, on balance, fair use.
  • Alleged security risks created by library digitization—dismissed as speculative and unproven. The judge noted the strong evidence to the contrary. It is still an open question whether the risk of subsequent illegal act by a third party could ever render an initial lawful copy not fair use. The whole notion strikes me as rather odd.
  • The market effect of library digitization—the court found there was none to speak of in this case. The court rejected the CCC's magic toll-booth arguments—i.e., there were some wild assertions about future licensing revenue that the court rejected as "conjecture."
  • The court also notes that a copyright holder cannot preempt a transformative market merely by offering to license it.
  • The market effect of enabling print-disabled access to library books—the court found there was no market for this under-served group, nor was one likely to develop.

As Sag's list makes clear, the HathiTrust case represents a major victory for libraries, universities, and the Digital Humanities community. The American Library Association and the Library Copyright Association welcomed the ruling this week, suggesting that it helps set a significant precedent regarding the relationship between library intiatives and copyright laws. 

"This ruling is significant for all libraries and universities because it goes to the heart of the mission of libraries, which is to preserve and make accessible our cultural heritage" says Lisa Macklin, director of scholarly communications at Emory Libraries. "The power of full-text searching and non-expressive research like text mining is growing more important to our faculty, students, and researchers, and is only possible with a digital library like HathiTrust. It is heartening that the court so clearly found that HathiTrust's creation and use of the digital library was a fair use under copyright law, particularly in serving print-disabled students."

Posted on October 19, 2012
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Jesse P. Karlsberg, Emory University

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The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

Posted on October 11, 2012
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Erika Harding, Emory University; Ben Shahn, Photographer

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Ben Shahn, Street scene, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 1935. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black-and-White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-006097-M3.
Ben Shahn, Street scene, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 1935. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black-and-White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-006097-M3.
Posted on October 9, 2012
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Christopher Lirette, Emory University

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John Egerton, Possum on Terrace, 1987.
John Egerton, PDF of "Possum on Terrace," 1987.

In 1985, "The Southern War Correspondents and Camp Followers Association" and "The Popham Seminar" held a joint meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, to celebrate journalist Johnny Popham's seventy-fifth birthday. John Egerton, a journalist and scholar who has written about southern race relations, education, and food wrote this unpublished manuscript in 1987 detailing the 1985 conference and Popham's biography.

A Virginia native, Popham was sent by the New York Times to cover the US South in the mid-twentieth century. In 1958, after twenty-five years on the road, he became the editor of The Chattanooga Times. There, he established himself as at the center of a network of southern journalists, education leaders, and politicians engaged in the civil rights movement. Popham also became known for his signature oratorical storytelling style, described by Claude Sitton in this piece as "dollops of sorghum syrup spat from a Gatling gun" (35).

Popham became a leader of a group of who called themselves the War Correspondents, white men who made their careers covering civil rights and desegregation era racial politics for southern newspapers. These men along with a group of higher education specialists also started informal conferences, which they called Popham Seminars, beginning in 1969. Most of the text of this essay is culled from Popham's speech at the 1985 conference and from interviews with other War Correspondents, making this a valuable document for inquiry into civil rights movement history and journalism. Popham, Egerton, and their colleagues continually use the language of war to describe the milieu of race relations reporting, but they do so with an ironic joviality that highlights the bond that formed between men bound by politics and circumstance.

Southern Spaces presents Egerton's tribute to Johnny Popham, "Possum on Terrace: The Southern Life and Times of Johnny Popham and a Few of His Friends," as an unedited manuscript in the spirit of archiving papers of southern figures in twentieth-century journalism.

 

Further Reading and Viewing

Egerton, John. Speak Now Against the Day. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

———. "McGill's Army: Civil Rights Reporting, Then and Now." Transcript of the 23rd Ralph McGill Lecture, University of Georgia, Athens, 2000.

———. "A Mind to Stay Here: Closing Conference Comments on Southern Exceptionalism,"Southern Spaces, November 29, 2006,
http://www.southernspaces.org/2006/mind-stay-here-closing-conference-comments-southern-exceptionalism.

———. "Walking into History: The Beginning of School Desegregation in Nashville,"Southern Spaces, May 4, 2009,
http://southernspaces.org/2009/walking-history-beginning-school-desegregation-nashville.

Roberts, Gene and Hank Klibanoff, The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. New York: Knopf, 2006.

Wexler, Laura. "Where Words Go to Play and Sing." Georgia Magazine 78, no. 4, September 1999.

Posted on October 2, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University

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The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

  • October 1 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the integration of the University of Mississippi. A number of media outlets reflected upon how James Meredith enrolled at the university amid violent riots in 1962. National Public Radio marked the anniversary on its Morning Edition, Tell Me More, and All Things Considered programs by interviewing historians of the integration of the University of Mississippi, James Meredith and his relatives, and students currently enrolled at the university. Kitty Dumas, an African American alumna of the university, offered her own reflection on the university's history in The New York Times. Amanda Lewis, Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University, and John Diamond, Associate Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, marked the anniversary by questioning the notion that public schools in the United States are really desegregated, asking "Is this the desegregation Meredith fought for?"
  • In Florida, confusion over the voting eligibility of thousands of ex-felons has a number of interest groups involved in a campaign to clarify the voter rolls across the state. In Tampa, ex-felons who had their voting rights reinstated by the state government recently received notice from their counties to the contrary. Voting eligibility of ex-felons in this swing state is especially important because laws restricting rights of felons affect nearly a quarter of all African-Americans of voting age in Florida.
  • Georgia Power (a unit of Southern Company, the second largest power company in the United States) announced on September 27 that it was seeking permission to purchase up to 210 megawatts of solar power by 2017. The proposed "Advanced Solar Initiative" would represent the largest voluntary purchase of solar energy by an investor-owned utility in the country.
  • On September 27, the Arkansas Supreme Court handed down a ruling which will make the state the first in the South to propose the legalization of medical marijuana via ballot initiative.