Please Welcome Alabama’s Athens State University to Universities Studying Slavery (USS).

We continue to field so many queries and so much interest in the collective work of the schools participating in Universities Studying Slavery (USS). 2020 has been busy–we are heartened by all the energy! Today, Athens State University in Athens, Alabama, becomes the second school in Alabama–after Stillman College–to join the movement.

Athens State University is the oldest continuously operated institution of higher education in Alabama’s state educational system and will be celebrating its bicentennial in 2022. Founded in 1822 as Athens Female Academy–later known as Athens Female Institute, Athens Female College, and Athens College–it became a state school in 1975 and was renamed Athens State University in 1998.

The school has named University Archivist Dakota Cotton, Library Director Dr. Katherine Quinnell, and Library Specialist Laken Smith to their Universities Studying Slavery Committee. They are charged with: 1-Research on Athens State’s ties to slavery; 2-Documentation through creating accessible archival collections; 3-Awareness: disseminating those holdings and findings through displays, publications, presentations, and the like.

The committee has also been charged with developing a working group open to students, faculty, and staff that will examine the history and impact of Athens State University’s institutional entanglement with the enslavement of African people. They will adhere to the schools goal to “conduct University affairs in a manner that is transparent, deliberative, and ethical and to encourage an atmosphere of diversity and to protect the free exchange of ideas.”

Athens State is committed to working together to bring an authentic meaning of diversity and inclusion to their school and carry it out via academic research and campus involvement. Athens State University has pledged to demonstrate its support of historically marginalized and culturally diverse communities by building relationships based on responsibility, equity, and respect.

So, please welcome Athens State University to the Universities Studying Slavery (USS) movement. Looking forward to seeing their team at our meetings and conferences soon!