Florence-Lauderdale Public Library to Explore Voting Rights in February and March

By  | February 11, 2020 | Filed under: News

FLORENCE– ​Florence-Lauderdale Public Library is hosting an in-depth series of programs, exhibits, and discussions exploring the history of voting rights. The “Voting Rights in America” series commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment, which banned the restriction of voting based on race, and the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth

Amendment, which banned the restriction of voting based on sex. The series also coincides with Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

The series will begin with a full slate of February events to explore the struggle for equal voting rights for African Americans. This project is co-sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities. All events take place at the library.

“We Are All Bound Up Together”: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Art and the Politics of Voting.

Thursday, February 13, 6:00 pm

Over the span of four decades, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper solidified herself as a race woman, as a public intellectual, and as the foremost Black poet of the nineteenth century. This panel discussion will examine how Frances Harper engaged the coming of the Fifteenth Amendment through her body of work.


This discussion will be led by three professors from the University of North Alabama. Dr. Karla

Zelaya, Assistant Professor of English at UNA, and Dr. Julia Bernier, Assistant Professor of History at UNA, are the co-founders of UNA’s new Black Studies program. Jason McCall is Assistant Professor of English at UNA, where he specializes in creative writing.

Shoals Black History Presents: A History of Voting from Reconstruction to Present Tuesday, February 18, 6:00 pm

Board members from Project Say Something have curated a voting rights exhibit with a special focus on the local history collected through their Shoals Black History project. In this program, they will discuss the history of and challenges to Black suffrage through four eras:

Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, and the present.


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Voter Restoration with the Alabama Voting Rights Diversity Alliance Thursday, February 20, 5:00 pm

Learn about Alabama laws related to voter restoration for citizens who have lost their voting rights due to felony convictions. This program is led by Bonita Gill, Coordinator of the Alabama Voting Rights Diversity Alliance (AVRDA). AVRDA is a grassroots coalition that works to increase voter turnout and coordinates voting rights restoration workshops. This event is co-sponsored by Project Say Something.


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Buried Truths​ Podcast Listening Session Tuesday, February 25, 11:30 am

Join us as we listen to the civil rights podcast Buried Truths​ ​. We’ll listen to and discuss the first episode of Season 1, which explores the story of Isiah Nixon, an African American man who was murdered because he voted. If you are unfamiliar with podcasts, library staff will be on hand to show you how you can listen to the rest of Buried Truths​​. This event is a preview for our BuriedTruths​ live recording at FLPL on February 27.

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Buried Truths​ Live: Civil Rights in the Shoals Thursday, February 27, 6:00 pm

The Shoals area has a reputation for having experienced more peaceful race relations during the civil rights movement than much of the South. But does that reputation tell the whole story? Hank Klibanoff—Pulitzer Prize-winning author, veteran journalist, and now professor—and Sherhonda Allen—journalist for the TimesDaily​      ​—will explore this question as they co-host a live recording of an episode for Klibanoff’s Peabody-winning podcast Buried Truths​       ​.


Hank, a white man, was a student at Coffee High School when the schools of Florence integrated. Sherhonda, an African American woman, started school at Brooks Elementary shortly after the onset of integration. Through discussion, interviews, and Q&A, Hank and Sherhonda will explore the Black and White experience in the Shoals during the civil rights era and beyond, discussing topics such as integration, voting rights, and more. Audience members are encouraged to share their own stories and perspectives, as well.


Buried Truths​ is a narrative civil rights history podcast that investigates still-relevant stories of injustice, resilience, and racism in the American South. It is produced by NPR affiliate WABE in Atlanta. The first two seasons are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major podcast platforms.


This live episode of Buried Truths​ is supported by the UNA Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion and the UNA Department of Communications.

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