Before moving to Tuscaloosa to attend college, I knew very little about Alabama history. I knew Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in Montgomery and that multiple Civil War battles occurred here. That’s pretty much it. Once I started fact-checking articles for the spring edition of Alabama Heritage, I realized how much is involved in Alabama history.
While proofreading an article for an upcoming issue of Alabama Heritage, I was shocked to discover that a woman was sentenced by a US court in Washington, DC, to be punished on a ducking stool in 1829.
I first learned about ducking while reading The Taming of the Shrew in a Shakespeare class. It’s a punishment in which a woman accused of being a scold or a shrew was lowered into a body of water on a chair attached to a type of long lever—a ducking stool. The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that some of the ducking stool’s victims died during their punishments. It’s a cruel penalty for something we might consider annoying—but certainly not criminal—today. The Taming of the Shrew appeared in print in the early 1600s; was the practice of ducking really still used as late as 1829? I resolved to find out.
Alabama Heritage BLOG
At Alabama Heritage, we owe many of our successes and smooth operations to our fabulous student interns. We hope that with this blog--written mostly by our interns as well as history students from UAB and a few from our own editors--our readers will have an opportunity to get to know the students who bring so much to the table with their enthusiasm, hard work, and expertise!
If you're interested in our internship program, check out the details here.