The Alabama Historical Association’s annual Fall Pilgrimage was held on October 21-22, 2011. This year the pilgrimage highlighted Tuskegee University and Booker T. Washington. This was a wonderful event, which consisted of a reception and a day of talks and activities. The reception to celebrate the pilgrimage was held at the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center, on October 21, 2011. This center, established in 1997, by Attorney Fred Gray as a memorial to the victims of the Tuskegee syphilis study that was spearheaded by Attorney Fred Grey. He and his family are deeply invested in the longevity of this initiative to preserve and document the history of Tuskegee and Macon County. At this reception I met other history enthusiasts and professionals, visited the museum and heard a wonderful discussion on the Tuskegee Airmen.
On October 22, 2011 I enjoyed a number of discussions hosted by Tuskegee University. The two main speakers, Dr. Mark Hersey (author of My Work is that of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver) and Ellen Weiss(author of Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee: An African American Architect Designs for Booker T. Washington), talked about the architect who built Tuskegee Institute and George Washington Carver’s work as a biological conservator.
I greatly enjoyed both of these presentations, but I was thoroughly captivated by the discussion on George Washington Carver!
This discussion was very insightful because it shed new light on Dr. Carver’s work and showed the present day application of many of his studies. Dr. Hersey took care to point out that Dr. Carver was much more than just the “peanut man.” I also took a wonderful tour of the university archives with Dana Chandler (University Archivist) and National Park Sites in Tuskegee (The Carver Museum, The Oaks, and Moton Field). There is so much history and culture in this small town, and I applaud the work of local and national agencies in preserving and interpreting it! I encourage anyone in the area, residents and visitors, to take time and experience Tuskegee!
For more information about the places I have discussed, please see following links: