Friday, August 25, 2017

Nationally Touring Exhibit Visits Russell Library

ATHENS, Ga -- During the era of Prohibition Americans could no longer manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages. Spirited: Prohibition in America, a new exhibition opening Sept. 1 at the UGA Special Collections Libraries explores this tumultuous time in American history, when flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and legends, such as Al Capone and Carrie Nation, took sides in this battle against the bottle.

Men and women drinking beer in rural setting, 1915.
Courtesy Culver Pictures, Inc.
Visitors to the exhibit will learn about the complex issues that led America to adopt Prohibition through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 1919 until its repeal through the 21st Amendment in 1933. The amendment process, the changing role of liquor in American culture, Prohibition’s impact on the roaring ‘20s, and the role of women, and how current liquor laws vary from state to state are among the topics addressed.

In 1830, the average American consumed 90 bottles -- or about four shots a day -- of 80-proof liquor each year. Saloons gained notoriety as the most destructive force in American culture, where men would drink away their families’ money. Following extensive campaigning and lobbying by the Anti-Saloon League along with groups representing women’s suffrage and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, on Jan. 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified and beginning January 17, 1920, Americans could no longer manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages.

On the eve of Prohibition, Detroit, 1919.
Courtesy Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University.
In the years following, the country was split between “wets” and “drys,” speakeasies flourished, legal authorities gave chase to gangsters, and many created inventive ways to circumvent the law. Along with rampant law breaking, Prohibition brought unexpected cultural and societal shifts from the development of mixed-gendered speakeasies to the growth of organized crime syndicated into national enterprises. The exhibition draws on the histories told from both sides of this divisive issue that riled passions and created volatile situations.

An opening event hosted by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies in collaboration with the University of Georgia Press and University of Georgia Department of History will take place on Thursday, September 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The event features a performance of prohibition era songs and stories by noted beverage historian Elizabeth Pearce, classic cocktail demonstrations by expert mixologist Jerry Slater, and tours of the exhibition.

Spirited: Prohibition America is based on the exhibition American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, organized by the National Constitution Center, in collaboration with Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Spirited has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has been adapted and toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance. Founded in 1972, Mid-America Arts Alliance is the oldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United Sates. For more information, visit www.maaa.org or www.nehontheroad.org.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lunch and Learn Series to Explore How Congress Works (or Should Work!)

A new program series hosted by the Richard B. Russell Library this April invites attendees to consider the powers and function of the U.S. Congress. Titled Civic Knowledge = Civic Power, the weekly program hosted from 12:30-1:30 p.m. looks to increase civic knowledge on campus and in the community with short lectures and informal discussion with speakers from UGA’s Department of Political Science.

The powers of the United States Congress are considerable and well established. Congress can collect taxes, coin money, declare war, raise and support armies and a navy, and make all laws necessary and proper to carry out its powers – just to name a few. But understanding Congress cannot be done in a vacuum or just through a listing of powers

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, a center for research and study of the American political system, devised this series as a way to promote greater understanding at a time when surveys show declining levels of knowledge and confidence in Congress. “A 2016 survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that citizen knowledge of government basics is at a new low,” said outreach archivist Jan Hebbard. “At a time when many citizens seem increasingly interested in playing a more active role in politics, we wanted to create a space for informal learning about this branch of government and its history.” The series was also inspired by the annual Congress Week initiative, led by the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress.

At each event featured speakers will address a selected topic, beginning on April 4 with Dr. Anthony Madonna and Dr. Michael Lynch discussing how a bill becomes a law. Other topics on the schedule include Congress and the media; a short history of the filibuster; and uses of the executive order. Organizers hope addressing issues that have garnered widespread attention since the 2016 presidential election will engage people from both the campus and community. “We try to keep our programming connected both to our collections and to current events – helping people to draw connections between the past and present,” said Jill Severn, head of access and outreach for the Russell Library.

Partners for the series include the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, the UGA College Republicans, and the UGA Young Democrats. A full listing of programs in the series can be found below. For more information contact russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788.

Lunch & Learn Program, Topic: How a Bill Becomes a Law

Lunch & Learn Program, Topic: Congress and the Media: Shaping Public Perceptions

Lunch & Learn Program, Topic: A History of the Filibuster

Lunch & Learn Program, Topic: Use of the Executive Order

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Disability History Collections Open for Research

Since 2013 the Russell Library has been a partner in the Georgia Disability History Alliance, a group of activists, advocates organizational leaders, archivists, and others united to document and preserve the state’s disability history. Over the past year, through partial support from UGA’s Center for Social Justice, Human & Civil Rights, Russell Library staff has completed processing over a dozen collections that form part of the Georgia Disability History Archive. These newly available collections document individuals and organizations in the areas of disability rights and activism, developmental disabilities, mental health advocacy, public policy and law, independent living and support programs, and assistive technology. To explore these topics and more, see the collection descriptions below and follow the links for complete guides to these collections.

Excerpt from ADAPT activist Mark Johnson's
testimony before the U.S. Senate on the Americans
with Disabilities Act, 1989.
Carol Jones Papers
The Archive as a whole seeks to document the vital and transformative work undertaken by disability activists, advocates, and organizations and, crucially, the experiences of persons with disabilities over the past 100 years in the state of Georgia. Major collecting areas include, but are not limited to: accessibility, activism and social justice, citizen advocacy, independent and community living, self-advocacy, education, employment, culture and pride. These collections will support research, teaching, public programming, and exhibitions. For more information about the Archive, please contact Mat Darby at matdarby@uga.edu or 706-542-0627.

Dottie Adams Papers, 1968-2007
Dottie Adams is the former Individual and Family Supports Director for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Her papers document her prolific career in advocacy and disability activism (1968-2009) and includes materials from her work with state agencies and commissions, support organizations, and philanthropic and activist work in the state of Georgia.

ADA Training Materials Collection, 1990-2004
The ADA Training Materials Collection includes curricula created by the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) for states and organizations to use in implementing ADA education and training.

Annette Bowling Papers, 1996-2013
Annette Bowling (1936-2016) served as the executive director of the Albany Advocacy Resource Center for over forty years. Her papers include materials related to her work advocating for people with disabilities, notably her service as chair of the Commissioner’s Oversight Committee, which oversaw the closures of the Brook Run Center in 1997 and the Georgia Mental Health Institute (GMHI) in 1998.

Disability Law and Policy Center of Georgia Records, 2000-2011
The Disability Law and Policy Center of Georgia is an organization that addresses the legal rights of the disabled in individual cases, employment, and education. The records include documentation of the Center's policies and priorities, grant-funded activities, and employee engagement.

Beth English Collection of Disability History Materials, 1968-2012
Beth English is the executive director of Easter Seals Southern Georgia. Her collection documents her work on the Commissioner’s Oversight Committee, which oversaw the closure of the Brook Run Center in 1997, her work as executive director of Easter Seals Southern Georgia, advocacy initiatives, and Central State Hospital, in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Roderick L. (RL) Grubbs Papers, 1973-2014
Roderick L. (RL) Grubbs (1959-2016) was an advocate for assistive technology, a disability rights activist, and a specialist in the Georgia Department of Community Health. His papers include subject files on a variety of disability-related topics and organizations and material related to Money Follows the Person, a state program.

Mark Johnson Papers, 1965-2015
Mark Johnson is the Director of Advocacy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. He holds a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and has been an advocate and leader in the disability rights movement for over thirty years. His papers contain subject and chronological files, artifacts, t-shirts, and audiovisual materials related to his work as a disability advocate, organizer, and professional.

Carol Jones Papers, 1987-2011
Carol Jones is an advocacy specialist at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and a long-time participant in the disability rights movement. Her papers include documents and memorabilia related to many advocacy issues and organizations, including ADAPT and the Long Road Home March and Rally.

Mary Kissel Papers, 1990-2007
Mary Kissel is a founder and interim executive director of Georgia Options. Her papers document her advocacy for person-centered care for individuals with developmental disabilities and her work with Georgia Options and other advocacy organizations.
The Bell Ringer, a publication of the
Metropolitan Atlanta Mental Health Association,
February 1962.
Beverly Benson Long Papers

Beverly Benson Long Papers, 1940-2009
Beverly Benson Long (1920-2015) served in state, national and international organizations as a mental health professional and advocate. Her papers document her extensive work and career in the mental health field and include correspondence, internal reports, papers, newsletters, memos, conference proceedings, and commission and board meeting materials.

Reverend Calvin Peterson and Disabled in Action Atlanta Collection, 1967-2015
Reverend Calvin Peterson is the founder and director of Disabled in Action, a non-profit organization with a mission to advocate, educate and empower people with disabilities living in poverty, their families and caregivers, and with an emphasis on equity and inclusion. The collection includes articles of incorporation, correspondence, press releases, news clippings, brochures, flyers, photographs, DVDs, and other materials that document Rev. Peterson and Disabled in Action's advocacy and activism.

Don Schanche, Jr. Papers, 1986-2004
Flyer for the organization, Disabled in Action,
circa 1990. Reverend Calvin Peterson and
Disabled in Atlanta Collection. 
Don Schanche, Jr. is a journalist who has written for many Georgia newspapers. His papers document his investigative work on state hospitals and his coverage of disability issues throughout the state.

Southeast ADA Center Resource Collection, 1990-2010
The Southeast ADA Center provides information, training, and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability access for business, government, and individuals at the local, state, and regional levels. The collection includes materials created and distributed by the center for education, instruction and compliance with the ADA.

A publication of the Georgia Psychoeducational
Center Network, 1973.
Mary M. Woods Papers
Mary M. Wood Papers, 1972-2011
Mary M. Wood is an educator, researcher and founder of the Developmental Therapy Institute, which focuses on training, research, development and outreach in Developmental Therapy-Teaching (DTT). Her papers document her work to improve the lives of troubled children, teens, and their families through effective interventions and includes publications, research and grant files.

  

Thursday, March 02, 2017

From Dog Tags to Car Tags: Tommy T. Irvin and the GDA

Former Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) Commissioner Tommy T. Irvin spent most of his life serving the state of Georgia. Through his 42 years as commissioner (1969-2011), Irvin promoted locally grown food, created monthly statewide educational programming, supported marginalized farmers, helped monitor horses in competition at the 1996 Olympics, and attended countless agriculture events.

However, Irvin’s legacy does include one controversial lawsuit in 2007 involving the 1990 Humane Euthanasia Act. In the act, State Representative Chelsey V. Morton details the humane ways in which shelters could put down animals through lethal injection. Irvin and the GDA’s Animal Protection Division were responsible for ensuring that all shelters were killing their animals according to this humane code. The GDA and Irvin, as commissioner, were sued in 2007 by Representative Morton because they were licensing shelters that used inhumane methods of killing. The court found in favor of the plaintiff, Representative Morton. and, as a result,  issued a temporary restraining order to the GDA prohibiting them  from renewing licenses for shelters using illegal killing methods. Later that same year, the GDA was held in contempt for issuing a license to a Cobb County shelter that used an unapproved method.

Now, this all paints former Commissioner Irvin in a rather unfavorable light when it comes to overcrowded animal shelters and animal care. However, as documented in his papers, Irvin appears to have taken this issue very seriously but attacked it from a different angle. From 1999 to 2002, the GDA worked on passing a constitutional amendment to create a sterilization program to address animal overpopulation. On November 5, 2002, the Dog/Cat Sterilization License Plate program was put before voters. The referendum, which would allow the license plate to be sold and administered by the GDA, passed by a 70% margin, and the GDA undertook a process to implement the legislation which was enacted in the following year.

Irvin speaking in support of Amendment 6 at the state capitol in 2002.
Source: Series I, Box 11, Folder 14.
Excerpt from brochure advertising the tag program, 2005.
Series I, Box 9, Folder 26.
The Dog/Cat Tag Sterilization License Plate program treats the designated plate as any other “specialty” plate. The county tag office collects the fee for the plate ($25 in 2005). Those funds are used to pay for sterilization procedures, to provide educational materials about the importance of sterilization, and to promote sales of the plate. The funds are accessed through an existing state accounting system, and the GDA pays licensed veterinarians to spay or neuter the animals. Purchasing the plate is entirely optional, and importantly, tax-deductible.

By December 2005, about a year before the Morton v. Irvin lawsuit, the sale of the sterilization license plate was advertised by the GDA. In a quote from a 2005 brochure, Irvin stated, “This program is saving the lives of dogs and cats without increasing taxes.” By August 2006, another brochure boasted that more than 700 accredited vets had performed 20,000 sterilization procedures through this program.
Tommy Irvin quote from brochure advertising the tag program, 2005.
Series I, Box 9, Folder 26.
In 2008, GDA held a photo contest for a new “Feline Friend” license plate design. Winner Randy Bieniek submitted a photo of a beautiful, short-hair cat, Hope, who was later adopted. This Feline Friend plate was added to the Animal Friend and Dog Friend plates promoted by the Dog/Cat Sterilization program in December 2008. By January 2009, more than 1,000 licensed and accredited vets participated in the program, and more than 41,000 spay/neuter procedures were funded in all 159 Georgia counties.
Flier advertising for the new "Feline Friendly" license
plate, circulated by GDA, 2008. Source: Series I, Box 9,
Folder 26. 

The Dog/Cat Sterilization program is still going strong today. The program is now funded by tag sales and private donations, and since 2013, a grant program. In the initial round of grants, $125,000 were awarded to 19 applicants, and, in 2015, $200,000 were awarded. Since 2003, over 100,000 spay/neuter procedures have been administered through the program, and that number continues to increase.

So, the next time you are driving on a Georgia highway and see a spay/neuter license plate, you will be witnessing one of Tommy Irvin’s legacies.

Visit  the Russell Library to research the Tommy Irvin Papers and see documentation of the preliminary work for the Tommy T. Irvin Dog/Cat Sterilization program, a full transcript of the 2002 Dog/Cat Sterilization Bill, copies of newspaper clippings announcing the program, brochures, meeting notes, original sample plates, unveiling photographs, and more.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Campus and Community Partners to Host 3rd Annual School Lunch Challenge!

Local chefs will take on the School Lunch Challenge March 18, creating tasty dishes that meet USDA requirements for the National School Lunch Program. Attendees will have a chance to sample the creations at the cooking competition from 12-1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Whitehead Road Elementary School.

Building on increased public interest in the National School Lunch Program, and inspired by the 2014 exhibition, Food, Power, Politics: The Story of School Lunch, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and others partnered in 2015 to create a fun, educational event to engage the Athens community with the past, present, and future of school lunch. “Richard Russell co-sponsored the legislation which created the National School Lunch Program in 1946. We are glad to host this event, now an annual happening that draws attention to the NSLP today,” said organizer Jan Hebbard, outreach archivist at the Russell Library.
Chef Hugh Acheson demos a healthy recipe for attendees
at the 2016 School Lunch Challenge
The 2017 event will offer 200 free tickets to the general public, and offer hands-on activities and cooking demonstrations to attendees. Once again, the centerpiece of this event will be a cooking competition which invites participating teams, advised by nutritionists from the Clarke County School District (CCSD), to create dishes in accordance with USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch Program. A panel of student judges drawn from CCSD schools will vote to determine an overall winner. The winning team’s plate will be incorporated into the CCSD school lunch menu during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Last year a team made up of family and consumer science teachers from the Clarke County School District was voted the overall winner by student judges. Led by Almeta Tuloss, program director for Seed Life Skills, a non-profit committed to revamping Family and Consumer Science curriculum, the team won over judges with a chicken and spinach pasta with lemon cream sauce alongside a mixed salad with orange vinaigrette. This recipe is scheduled to debut on the CCSD School Lunch Menu in Spring 2017. The CCSD teachers will return to defend their title against new competitors Taqueria del SolLast Resort Grill, and The Place.

Student judges rating dishes at the
2016 School Lunch Challenge
A variety of organizations connected to sustainable agriculture, community gardens, childhood nutrition and farm to school programs in the Athens area will host information tables at the event. A display of historical documents and artifacts related to the history of the National School Lunch Program will also be on display. 

The event is free and open to the public but only 200 tickets will be made available, beginning February 24 through the Eventbrite websiteThe 2017 School Lunch Challenge is sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the Clarke County School District, the Athens Land TrustAthens Farm to SchoolUGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Department of Foods and NutritionThe Fresh MarketEarthfareSeed Life Skills, and Heirloom Cafe.   

To register for tickets, visit https://slc2017.eventbrite.com 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Many Roles of the Georgia Department of Agriculture

The Russell Library recently opened the Tommy Irvin Papers for research. To date, Irvin is the longest-serving Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, helming the Department of Agriculture from 1969 until 2011. The papers of the previous commissioner, J. Phil Campbell (1954-1969) also reside at the Russell Library, giving researchers access to nearly 60 years of history of this critical Georgia department.
Figure 1: Photograph of Commissioner Irvin milking a cow at
the Capitol Building in Atlanta as part of Dairy Month celebration,
undated. Source: Series I, Box 10, Folder 25
So what exactly does the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) do? The department was founded in 1874, the first agency of its kind in the U.S. Initially charged with overseeing the production of and marketing of Georgia's agricultural commodities, they took on increasing regulatory authority through successive legislation and became a source for education for both consumers and farmers. Today their mission is "to protect consumers, promote agriculture both locally and globally and assist our customers using education, technology and a professional workforce."
Figure 2: Photograph of Commissioner Irvin with Jimmy Carter,
the National Watermelon Queen, and the Georgia
Watermelon Queen, undated. Source: Series I, Box 10, Folder 26.
Figure 3: Commissioner Irvin's annual Christmas card
with the Georgia Grown logo, circa 2002-04.
Source: Series I, Box 9, Folder 25.
Agriculture has developed into one of Georgia's leading industries. With a mild climate and a long growing season, Georgia farmers produce a wide range of products and are leading U.S. producers of poultry, pecans, peanuts, eggs, rye, and cotton, as well as being known for peaches, tomatoes, watermelons, and Vidalia onions. The GDA promotes Georgia's agricultural products through its Office of International Trade and Domestic Marketing. Commissioner Irvin was the first to establish overseas offices of the GDA to further develop international markets for Georgia products. Within the state, their "Georgia Grown" program is one of many initiatives that highlights Georgia products, including providing branding for local products and offering recipes for how to enjoy them, and the GDA operates a statewide system of farmers' markets to give producers a local market, including the Atlanta State Farmers Market, which started under Commissioner Campbell.

Figure 4: Cover of program for Georgia Agriculture
Day, 1997. Source: Series I, Box 1, Folder 9.
The department and the commissioners also promote Georgia agriculture and educate the public through participation at festivals and events around the state. One major event that the GDA puts on is Georgia Agriculture Day. This annual event brings together members of the General Assembly, 4-H and FFA students, representatives of various agricultural organizations, and the general public, providing groups with the chance to interact, learn from each other, and sample food. The event also features contents for the best food, student essay, and student art.



The GDA also plays an important role in consumer protection by maintaining safety and quality standards, enforcing regulations through licensing, and inspection. They have responsibility for the entire food production process, including the seeds, pesticides, and other components used to grow the food, livestock health, any facility where food is processed, stored, or sold, and the products themselves. They also have responsibility over nurseries and lawn care, exterminators, scales and fuel pump accuracy, and the pet and animal industries.
Figure 5: "Be Informed Before You Shop" pamphlet
produced by GDA for consumers about food safety, 1984.
Source: Series I, Box 4, Folder 27. 
One unique regulatory role for the GDA came with the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta when they had responsibility for monitoring the horses competing in the games. Controversy arose over whether horses with piroplasmosis, a blood-borne parasitic condition spread by ticks, should be permitted in the state. Concerned that attempting to ban these animals would result in an international decision forcing Georgia's hand, Irvin instead worked out a compromise that allowed the horses to compete while taking safety measures that prevented the spread of the illness.

The GDA also provides assistance to farmers through policy, research, and education.  Both Campbell and Irvin oversaw important disease eradication programs, including hog cholera (1971) and brucellosis and cattle tuberculosis (1974), and programs to control pests like screwworm and the fire ant. They also advocate for farming legislation and aid in the event of drought and other national disasters to keep Georgia agriculture competitive.
Figure 6: Photograph of Commissioner Irvin inspecting tobacco
leaves with two farmers, 1984. Source: Series I, Box 10, Folder 31.
So by helping the farmer, the consumer, and Georgia agricultural products, the Georgia Department of Agriculture significantly impacts the lives of everyone in Georgia, whether we realize it or not.

Post by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist, Russell Library 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

ACLU of Georgia: Disability Rights

This is the sixth and final post in a series of posts about the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Records, which were processed in 2015 and are now open for research. These records document the ACLU of Georgia's litigation, lobbying, and public education efforts to protect civil liberties for all Georgians. Their work, which began in 1963, involves issues such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, due process of law, and opposing discrimination against many groups. This post was written by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist, and Shaniqua Singleton, a student at the UGA School of Law, who was instrumental in processing these papers.

Cover of handbook, "Your Rights in Georgia's
Mental Health Facilities," by the Georgia
Division of Mental Health, undated.
Source: Series II, Box 28, Folder 22.
The disability rights movement has long sought full and equal participation in life for people with disabilities in a wide variety of areas, such as receiving an education, access to public buildings and to homes, being able to use public transportation, and fair treatment in the judicial system, to name a few. The ACLU of Georgia has been actively involved in efforts to end discrimination against people with disabilities on many fronts. They protest the over-representation of people with disabilities in civil and criminal institutions such as nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and prisons, which isolate them from society. And they advocate for equal access to jobs, homes, education, healthcare, and families. Ultimately, their goal is for people with disabilities to be "valued, integrated members of the community" and for everyone to understand that "disability is a normal part of life."
Cover of the ACLU's amicus brief
for Olmstead v. L.C. in the U.S.
Supreme Court, 1998.
Source: Series III, Box 83, Folder 4.

One legal case that is well-documented in the records is Hightower v. Ledbetter, a class action suit brought in the 1990s by a group of patients at Central State Hospital, a state-operated mental health facility, challenging the unlawful administration of psychotropic medications without their consent. Under Georgia law, mental health facilities were permitted to administer medications without consent when physicians concluded that refusal would be unsafe to the patient and others. The District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, upheld the state policy, finding that the forced medication did not violate plaintiffs’ substantive and procedural due process rights. The records also include materials related to ACLU's amicus brief in Olmstead v. L.C., a landmark case related to the deinstitutionalization of people with disabilities, and Sierra Club v. Georgia Department of Transportation, challenging Atlanta's regional transportation plan for failing to consider those living with disabilities.

Sticker in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act, undated.
Source: Series II, Box 13, Folder 13.
Pamphlet for The Disability Action
Center of Georgia, ca. 1996.
Source: Series II, Box 13, Folder 13. 
In addition to the case files, the records include subject files on controversies involving people with disabilities, including the passing and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the right of people with disabilities to protest, access to public transportation, access to public buildings and the Georgia Dome, abuses at mental institutions and prisons, and education for "special needs" children.

The Russell Library actively collects on disability history in Georgia. For a list of collections, see the Georgia Disability History Archive finding aid. To further these efforts, the Russell Library is an active partner in the Georgia Disability History Alliance.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beyond the Page: Reusing Data about DeKalb County Schools

In the Fall of 2016 the Russell Library opened the DeKalb County School Desegregation Case Files for research. These files document litigation from 1968 to 1997 to desegregate the schools. In the course of this work, the lawyers collected data on students, staff, and the school system. All of the data includes race-based demographics, but much more information was gathered. For students, there might be test scores, frequency of disciplinary actions, home situation, or free/reduced school lunch enrollment. For teachers and administrators, there can be salaries, education levels, the number of years they worked in DeKalb, turnover and transfer information, gender, and information over who was not hired. For the school system, there is information on average daily attendance, building capacities and programs offered, seats available for the M-to-M (Majority-to-Minority) transfer program, and per pupil financial expenditures.

All of this data was critical for the lawyers to make their case about whether the DeKalb County Schools were fully integrated.  But it could be of use to any study looking to analyze demographic information about DeKalb County children or educators from the 1970s thru the 1990s.  For example, a researcher could analyze the relationship between race and scholastic performance, likelihood of being disciplined, or likelihood of being hired, just to name a few possibilities.

By way of an example, we took a single data table from the collection, "Racial Composition DCSS Schools, 1955-1986" and converted it into a spreadsheet in order to analyze the data. The whole process took less than an hour. The steps involved are:

1. Make a digital copy of the table. In our case we made a PDF using our photocopier. PDFs can also be made using an app on your phone. (image 1)

Image 1: Scan of table "Racial Composition DCSS Schools,
1955-1986" 
saved as a PDF. Source: Series III, Box 53, Folder 6. 

2. Convert the image to a spreadsheet. We opened the file in Adobe Acrobat and saved it as an Excel file. Since it was already in table form, Excel could recognize what information should be in each row and column. If the data is not clearly formatted as a table, it may take a little extra work to make it usable. (image 2)
Image 2: Table, "Racial Composition DCSS Schools,"
saved as an Excel spreadsheet using Adobe Acrobat Pro. 

3. Clean up the spreadsheet. The table was originally designed to be easy to read by humans, so there were repeating column headers at the top of each new page, blank rows to make it easier on these eyes, and the date is not associated with every row. These all had to be addressed before using Excel to do data analysis. I also formatted some columns as numbers so that we could do math on the data and checked a few of the rows against the original to be confident that the conversion had been accurate. (image 3)
Image 3: Table "Racial Composition DCSS Schools" after
spreadsheet has been cleaned up using Excel.

4. Spreadsheets are very useful for asking questions of the data. To go one step further and get an overview of the data, I used Google Sheets to create a few graphs and to look for trends. By graphing the racial makeups of elementary and high schools over time (image 4), we can quickly see that there was always a higher proportion of black students in elementary school. Or by graphing the total number of students identified by race, we can see the number of white students steadily dropping beginning in 1971 (image 5) and trends in increasing diversity (image 6).


Image 4: Graph of the percentage of the elementary school
students and high school students who were black, 1955-1986.

Image 5: Graph of the total number of students who were
black, white,and other, 1955-1986.

This example shows how much can be gleaned from one simple table. Researchers who combine data from multiple tables will be able to look even deeper at trends of race, school and employment success, economics, and more. There are data tables located throughout the collection, but boxes that are particularly rich include Series I. Alphabetical Files - Unitary Status - Areas of Inquiry (Boxes 7-10), Series III. Working Files - Data (Boxes 52-53 and 62), and Series III. Working Files - School Information Notebooks (Boxes 58-59). Exhibits, which are located throughout the collection, can also be good sources of data.

Post by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curator and Processing Archivist, Russell Library

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ACLU of Georgia: Juvenile Rights

This is the fifth post in a series about the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Records, which were processed in 2015 and are now open for research. These records document the ACLU of Georgia's litigation, lobbying, and public education efforts to protect civil liberties for all Georgians. Their work, which began in 1963, involves issues such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, due process of law, and opposing discrimination against many groups. This series of posts was written by Shaniqua Singleton, a student at the UGA School of Law, who was instrumental in processing these papers.

Cover of publication, "Student Rights &
Responsibilities in Georgia," undated.
Source: Series II, Box 38, Folder 7.
Adolescents are constantly exposed to signals from their families, communities, friend-groups, and media that influence how they develop and interact with the world around them. Like adults, adolescents may find themselves engaging in a range of activity in response to and as a result of these influences. Thus, they may choose to stage a demonstration in response to societal events. They may engage in criminal or otherwise illegal behavior. They may choose to distinguish themselves by their manner of dress or hairstyle. The ACLU believes students and juveniles, like adults, have certain constitutional rights that must be protected. The ACLU believes that if adolescents are expected to know their constitutional rights as adults, it is important to uphold those rights while they are young. The ACLU of Georgia Records highlight both legal challenges and legislative initiatives aimed toward protecting students’ and juveniles’ rights.

In 1996, the ACLU of Georgia addressed the issue of the detention of juveniles suspected of violating the criminal law. In A.M. v. Martin (1996-1998), the ACLU brought a case against Jay Martin, in his capacity as Court Administrator of the Fulton County Juvenile Court and Child Treatment Center, and Zell Miller, in his capacity as Governor of Georgia, on behalf of juvenile offenders held in warrantless detention for a maximum of 72 hours. Arguing that juveniles are entitled to constitutional guarantees of due process and fair treatment in the criminal justice system, the ACLU’s records feature several briefs filed before the courts in this matter. These documents provide useful insight into the development of legal arguments and factors considered by the courts as they entered judgments in this matter.

Cover of handbook, "Your Rights in School
and in the Community," 1996.
Source: Series II, Box 45, Folder 9.
The ACLU of Georgia also has challenged school dress code policies on behalf of students suspended for violation of said policies, such as Tillman v. Gwinnett County Schools. In Series II. Issues, researchers will find correspondence from prospective clients and concerned citizens regarding school dress policies, and legal documents filed in court challenging “zero tolerance” dress codes. Other cases have focused on free speech rights of students, such as J.U. v. Murray County, the right to form student groups, such as PRIDE v. White County Schools related to a student support group for LGBT youth, and illegal searches, such as Thomas v. Clayton County School District.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Campus and Community Partners to Host 3rd Annual School Lunch Challenge!

Local chefs will take on the School Lunch Challenge March 18, creating tasty dishes that meet USDA requirements for the National School Lunch Program. Attendees will have a chance to sample the creations at the cooking competition from 12-1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Whitehead Road Elementary School.

Building on increased public interest in the National School Lunch Program, and inspired by the 2014 exhibition, Food, Power, Politics: The Story of School Lunch, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and others partnered in 2015 to create a fun, educational event to engage the Athens community with the past, present, and future of school lunch. “Richard Russell co-sponsored the legislation which created the National School Lunch Program in 1946. We are glad to host this event, now an annual happening that draws attention to the NSLP today,” said organizer Jan Hebbard, outreach archivist at the Russell Library.
Chef Hugh Acheson demos a healthy recipe for attendees
at the 2016 School Lunch Challenge
The 2017 event will offer 200 free tickets to the general public, and offer hands-on activities and cooking demonstrations to attendees. Once again, the centerpiece of this event will be a cooking competition which invites participating teams, advised by nutritionists from the Clarke County School District (CCSD), to create dishes in accordance with USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch Program. A panel of student judges drawn from CCSD schools will vote to determine an overall winner. The winning team’s plate will be incorporated into the CCSD school lunch menu during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Last year a team made up of family and consumer science teachers from the Clarke County School District was voted the overall winner by student judges. Led by Almeta Tuloss, program director for Seed Life Skills, a non-profit committed to revamping Family and Consumer Science curriculum, the team won over judges with a chicken and spinach pasta with lemon cream sauce alongside a mixed salad with orange vinaigrette. This recipe is scheduled to debut on the CCSD School Lunch Menu in Spring 2017. The CCSD teachers will return to defend their title against new competitors Taqueria del Sol, Last Resort Grill, and The Place.

Student judges rating dishes at the
2016 School Lunch Challenge
A variety of organizations connected to sustainable agriculture, community gardens, childhood nutrition and farm to school programs in the Athens area will host information tables at the event. A display of historical documents and artifacts related to the history of the National School Lunch Program will also be on display. 

The event is free and open to the public but only 200 tickets will be made available, beginning February 24 through the Eventbrite website. The 2017 School Lunch Challenge is sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the Clarke County School District, the Athens Land Trust, Athens Farm to School, UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Department of Foods and Nutrition, The Fresh Market, EarthfareSeed Life Skills, and Heirloom Cafe.   

To register for tickets, visit https://slc2017.eventbrite.com 

For more information, contact Jan Hebbard at jhebbard@uga.edu or (706) 542-5788.