Alabama Heritage magazine has named Rebecca Todd Minder as its new director and Susan E. Reynolds as editor. Co-published by The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama Heritage is the state's only history magazine and has gained national recognition, receiving numerous awards for its editorial, design, and digital media since its inception in 1986. The appointments were made after the retirement of previous Editor-in-Chief Donna Baker.
After serving in the leadership role for nearly twenty years, Editor Donna Cox Baker is putting down her red pen and picking up her family tree. Baker’s retirement will go into effect September 30, 2021, after which she plans to focus more on her genealogical pursuits.
Baker joined Alabama Heritage in 2001 and brought with her a keen business focus that helped the magazine grow in a variety of areas previously untouched or underdeveloped. Under Baker’s leadership, the magazine team created a strong connection with the Alabama history community and the magazine was open to a wider range of authors, encouraging diverse topics. Baker also sought a way for Alabama Heritage to be involved in public history, including with genealogy groups. One of the greatest accomplishments for Baker was creating a digital media position to digitize previously unavailable back issues and enhance the magazine's presence to newer audiences.
Baker and husband Mac will reside in Anniston with their two affectionate cats, Priscilla and Bootz.
Alabama Heritage Celebrates 35 Years of Publishing With Cover Feature on Poarch Band Creek Chief Calvin McGhee
The Summer 2021 issue of Alabama Heritage features a cover story on Chief Calvin McGhee and the Poarch Creek Renaissance. In the mid-twentieth century, Chief Calvin McGhee worked tirelessly to bring change to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians as he transformed the lives of his people in Escambia County, Alabama. Seminal victories came in 1949 in the form of a school bus and a new public school for Indian children, though they still faced the inequality of segregated schools. McGhee made many trips to the nation’s capital, and in 1962 met with President Kennedy to present “The Declaration of Indian Purpose.”
“It is such an honor to have award-winning author and historian Frye Gaillard's article about Poarch Creek Chief Calvin McGhee in our summer issue,” states Editor Susan E. Reynolds. “McGhee's legacy is an important one for all Alabamians to recognize. His tireless efforts to help his community brought about lasting change that lives on today.”
In 1986, under the inspiring editorship of founder Suzanne Wolfe, Alabama Heritage published its first issue. Now, 140 issues later, the magazine is proud to celebrate thirty-five years of publishing a magazine that was created with a broad conception of “heritage” and incorporates more than traditional history. Alabama Heritage, published quarterly, tells the stories of Alabama that educate, inspire, and entertain.
Spring 2021 Issue of Alabama Heritage Features Previously Unpublished Photos of Margaret Bourke-White
The Spring 2021 issue of Alabama Heritage magazine uncovers previously unpublished photomurals of the Chattahoochee Valley taken by one of America’s best-known photographers, Margaret Bourke-White. Authors Robin Watson and Frances Osborn Robb document the pioneering photographer’s visit to East Alabama in 1936 and how she left behind six towering photomurals of its thriving textile industry. Looking at these photos, it is easy to understand why and how she made her great photographic achievements: an innovator of photojournalism and the photo essay; a female photographer whose photos appeared in the first issues of Fortune and LIFE magazines; the first Westerner to photograph in the Soviet Union; one of the first female war correspondents; and one of the most famous women of her era.
Dr. Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins, past president of the Alabama Historical Association, longtime editor of The Alabama Review, and contributor to Alabama Heritage magazine passed away recently. As you can read in this obituary and recent feature article in The Tuscaloosa News, Dr. Wiggins’ contributions to Alabama history were numerous and valued by many, and she was always willing to assist the next generation of historians.
The Alabama Historical Association is establishing a new award to honor her life and work, the Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins Dissertation in Alabama History Award. AHA will announce the creation of the award at the April 2021 annual meeting in Florence, Alabama, and dissertations completed within the past two years will be eligible. The first Wiggins Dissertation Award will be given at the April 2022 annual meeting.
Please consider making a donation to establish this award. You can give in one of two ways:
1. Mail a check payable to the Alabama Historical Association and indicate "Wiggins Award" on the check.
Alabama Historical Association
Auburn University, AL 36849-5637
2. Give online at this link. (Note: A PayPal account is NOT required.)
Digital History (broadly defined) has established itself as an important way of delivering exceptional and heretofore hidden information about Alabama’s past. The Internet and social media tools make it possible for many individuals and entities to gain attention and authority for their contributions to increased understanding about the history of Alabama.
Inspired by Alabama’s bicentennial celebrations, and produced by NewSouth Books in partnership with Alabama Heritage magazine and the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, Alabama from Territory to Statehood compiles the work of experts on the history of the state’s formative years. Very little has been written on this period since the mid-20th century, making this volume a welcome addition to the Alabama history canon. Lavishly illustrated articles illuminate the Alabama story. Experts describe the state’s prehistory and colonial settlement. They describe border disputes and land surveys, squatting, prospecting, and the land rush remembered as “Alabama Fever.” They tell of the early settlements and growing towns, the architecture, food, the cultures of a place in flux. They sketch the experience of Creeks on the verge of removal and enslaved persons adjusting to arrival. They analyze the demise of a fragile economy and the legal and political creation of a new state.
Fall 2019 Issue of Alabama Heritage Celebrates Alabama’s Bicentennial with Special Statehood Edition
The Fall 2019 issue of Alabama Heritage magazine is a special collector’s edition that commemorates Alabama becoming a state 200 years ago. This expanded issue is twice the length of a regular issue with articles by state historians and award-winning authors. The Fall issue is a companion piece to the Summer 2017 issue that highlighted Alabama becoming a territory, both of which were published in conjunction with the Alabama 200 three-year-long celebration.
The Summer 2019 issue of Alabama Heritage magazine details Joseph Volker, first present of UAB, who helped turn a small Birmingham medical center into the medical school and university campus that became the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Volker is best remembered as a man who wanted to improve the lives of the people around him and in the Birmingham community that became his adopted home. As he would say in a quote that has become a mantra for UAB’s current 50th anniversary celebration, “We would do Birmingham a great disservice if we dreamed too little dreams.”