Southern Crossroads: Where History and Literature Meet

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March 14th Article

UWG Partners with the Newnan Carnegie and Newnan-Coweta Historical Society for “Southern Crossroads: Where History and Literature Meet”


The University of West Georgia English department has partnered with the Newnan Carnegie and Newnan-Coweta Historical Society to present the series “Southern Crossroads: Where History and Literature Meet.” The five-part series takes a retrospective look at Southern history, literature and music, and reflects on how these events and literary accounts shaped contemporary Southern living. The series began in January with the Civil War antebellum period, and will conclude in May with a presentation on Southern music. Professors from UWG’s English department will provide a scholarly review of the definitive, yet evolutionary, moments where Southern history, literature, and music meet.

The series kicked off with Dr. Stacy Boyd’s presentation “Frederick Douglass & Harriet Ann Jacobs: Narratives, Incidents of Race, Gender and Nation.” Dr. Boyd provided insight into the African American experience in Southern culture, both slave and free, from the antebellum period through the Civil War. He cited the literary works of both Frederick Douglass and Harriet Ann Jacobs, introducing the slave narrative as one of the original American forms of literary expression.

The series continued in February with Dr. David Newton’s presentation at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, entitled “Writing at the Crossroads: Southern Literature, Reconstruction, Old South and New South.” Dr. Newton highlighted the life of prolific Southern writer, William Gillmore Simms, gave insight into the culture of the planter class, and shared the surprising lackluster support of Southern literature among Southerners during Reconstruction.

The next pat of this series will take place on March 24th at 2:30 pm with Melissa Dickson Jackson’s presentation of “The Fugitive Moment: Between History and the Page.”  This presentation will follow the Fugitive Movement with authors such as Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, and Allen Tate, who explored the delicate transitions of history, liberty, and the American ideal through poetry, prose, and criticism.

Dr. Rebecca Harrison’s presentation, “The Female Aesthetic in the Modern South: A Confederacy of Water Moccasins” will take place on April 28th at 2:30 pm. In her talk, Dr. Harrison will provide an overview of the concerns occupying Southern women writers of the modernist period, a field ostensibly dominated by the fugitives and writers such as William Faulkner and Robert Penn Warren.  Rather than merely asking her audience to “remember the ladies” (as Abigail Adams once said in a memorable phrase directed at her husband, John), Dr. Harrison will speak to the creative and highly innovative work being produced by such authors as Ellen Glasgow, Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Maddox Roberts, and Lillian Smith

The series will conclude on May 19th at 7:30 pm with Dr. Steve Goodson’s presentation “Is It True What They Say About Dixie? Southern History Through Song,” taking place at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Dr. Goodson provides insight into the rich musical history of the South and explores famous representations of Southern life.

Gail Zoeller, President, Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation, commented “The Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation is proud to sponsor our first collaboration with the University of West Georgia on this new lecture series.  Carol Wilson, Carnegie Adult Programming, Jessie Merrell, Curator, Newnan Coweta Historical Society, and the University’s English Department have developed an intriguing timeline of history and literature which has already proven quite popular.  We’d like to thank additionally the Newnan Coweta Historical Society for providing a beautiful evening venue for two of our evening lectures at their McRitchie-Hollis Museum.  We look forward to many happy future collaborations with the University of West Georgia and their distinguished teaching staff.”

“Southern Crossroads: Where History and Literature Meet” is funded by the Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation, and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit, or contact the Newnan Carnegie at 770-683-1347.

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