Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

7-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies

First Advisor

Ted Ownby

Second Advisor

David Wharton

Third Advisor

Jeffrey T. Jackson

Relational Format

Dissertation/thesis

Abstract

This Southern Studies master's thesis explores the racial and ethnic environment of Cullman County, Alabama from a number of perspectives. Critical readings of archived newspapers as well as local histories provide the foundation for this study. Oral history interviews and census data also figure prominently. The research aimed mainly at illuminating the elusive history of race relations in Cullman, an overwhelmingly white county. Much of the thesis focuses on Cullman's history of racial exclusiveness. Secondary sources, primarily works by historians and sociologists, contextualize Cullman's racial past and present. The county emerges from this study as an unusual if not truly unique racial environment that has demonstrated streaks of racial progressivism as well as racial prejudice. Today, denial of racism on the part of many white residents plays a major role in preventing Cullman from fully confronting the racial oppression of its past, which in turn impedes progress toward a more equitable racial and ethnic environment.

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