Summersell Center Announces 2024-25 Short-Term Fellowship Winners

The Summersell Center and the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library of the University of Alabama are pleased to announce the five recipients of short-term travel fellowships for 2024-2025. The winners, Emily Ruth Allen; Dr. W. Neal Holmes; Beth Hunter; Dante Whittaker, Jr.; and Monique Wimby, will travel to the Hoole Library during the course of the next year and use its holdings as part of a book project or a dissertation. Read further for more details on each scholar and their forthcoming work. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

  • Emily Ruth Allen is an instructor at the University of South Carolina in the School of Music and Institute for Southern Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in Musicology from Florida State University. She is working on a book manuscript about Carnival parade musics in Mobile, Alabama, about which she has published in the Journal of Festive Studies and the Alabama Folklife Association’s journal Tributaries. Allen will spend time in UA’s archives for her project, “Sounding Southern Identity in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival.”
  • Dr. W. Neal Holmes’s academic career includes stints at the University of Akron, where he was the Director of the African-American Studies Program and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, where he was an Associate Professor of Political Science and African-American History. He concluded his career at Virginia State University, where he retired as a member of the Political Science Department. Dr. Holms will conduct research for his current project, “Beyond the Mask: Booker T. Washington as Institution-Building Change Agent,” using this fellowship.
  • Beth Hunter received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her interests include Southern history, the New Deal, and textile arts. An accomplished sewist and quilter, her creations are featured in her blog and have been displayed in Hitachi, Japan. Hunter has served as an adjunct professor in the undergraduate program at UAB since 2012. Hunter will research quilting in UA’s archives.
  • Dante Whittaker, Jr., is a doctoral candidate in history at New York University. He is interested in studying the 19th century South, slavery, race, capitalism, politics, and agriculture. He has a particular interest in researching how black men and women leveraged agricultural knowledge and production to further their emancipation political claims. He will conduct research at UA for his dissertation, “Divine Lands, Divine Rights: Emancipation, Spiritual Politics, and Building Canaan in the Alabama Black Belt, 1863-1885.”
  • Monique Wimby studied for a Master’s in Philosophy as a Trinity Fellow at Marquette University and completed her bachelor’s degrees in dance and English at Brenau University. She has worked for the National Organization for Women in Washington, D.C., completed two years of City Year for AmeriCorps in Jacksonville, Florida, and served in Peace Corps Indonesia from 2015 – 2017. Upon returning to Atlanta, Georgia in 2017, Wimby worked as a freelance dancer, director, and choreographer in Metro Atlanta. She is currently a Ph.D. student in African American Studies at Emory University and a 2024 Mellon Data Fellow for Cornell University’s digital history project, “Freedom on the Move.” Her research project, “Git in the Woods: Enslaved Women and Truancy in the Plantation South,” works to imbricate Black feminism and womanism to understand how engaging truancy as critical method uncovers how Black women and femmes discover myriad ways of balancing obligations to their external community and their interior psychic and spiritual health. Wimby will conduct research for her current project, “Git in the Woods: Enslaved Women and Truancy in the Plantation South,” while at UA.