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2017-18 Common Read/Common World Events

2018 Mahan Lecture Featuring Dr. Dunbar

Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 pm at the Laidlaw Performing Arts Auditorium

The Mahan Lecture is named after Howard F. Mahan, the founder of the University of South Alabama Department of History. Mahan was born in New York City and grew up in nearby New Jersey. He interrupted his undergraduate studies in science and engineering at Drew University to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. After serving a full tour as a navigator on bombing missions over Europe, he returned to Drew. He decided to study history now as a way of better understanding the war that he and the world had just endured. He continued as a graduate student at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. in U.S. history. Always interested in adult education, Professor Mahan took a position with the University of Alabama Extension Division in Mobile in 1954. He was one of the original faculty members of the University of South Alabama in 1964 and was the founder of its Department of History. He served as chair of the Department from 1964 to 1983. After nearly forty years of teaching U.S. history in Mobile, Professor Mahan retired in 1993. With the generous support of the University of South Alabama Foundation, the USA Department of History has established an annual lecture in honor of Professor Mahan’s enduring contributions to his students, colleagues, community, and state.

USA Archaeology Museum 2017 - 2018 Exhibit "History Matters" 

This exhibition is a component of the Common Read / Common World Initiative encouraging the USA community to share in reading the book Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Gyasi’s debut historical fiction novel examines the key themes of family, history, slavery, and race and racism. Our hope is to spark dialogue about these important issues, and remind visitors that history matters.  

Mobile’s story is told on the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail of Mobile (DFFAAHT) tour. You will travel through time stopping at sites linked by contributors and events that shaped the city’s diverse history through the struggles and triumphs of African-Americans who have not been properly memorialized.

The DFFAAHT’s mission is to educate, preserve and mark the historic contributions of African-Americans in Mobile. The primary objective is to share Mobile’s multicultural legacy through the following stories:

  • The early Creoles de Color;
  • African survivors from the Clotilda, the last slave ship to enter the US in 1860;
  • Newly freed Blacks who worshiped and built some of the oldest churches in Alabama;
  • African-Americans who settled in an area named ironically for Jefferson Davis (Davis  Avenue) and later renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Avenue;
  • The Civil Rights advocates integral to the desegregation of the city’s schools,  private-sector workforce, and public offices.

Through the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail experience, participants will develop a taste for the rich gumbo of history as revealed by Mobile’s past.

Spring 2018 Events

African Roots: Art of Isreal Lewis III

January - February 2018

Marx Library 3rd Floor display cases

The McCall Library is pleased to present a new exhibit featuring the artwork of former Africatown resident, Clotilda descendant, and USA alumnus Isreal K. Lewis III. Come and view his colorful drawings featuring traditional west African motifs and Lewis' own explanation of his inspiration. Learn the story of the Clotilda and the unique African community that was formed in the Plateau area of Mobile. Come and see how Zora Neale Hurston and Questlove are connected to this story. 


Mrs. Lorna G. Woods 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 3pm

Marx Library - 3rd Floor

The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library presents a Black History Month learning opportunity. Lorna Woods, local historian, storyteller, Clotilda descendant, and resident of the historic Lewis Quarters will discuss the Isreal Lewis III Art exhibit and the history of Africatown. 

Fall 2017 Events

An Evening With Yaa Gyasi

Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 7pm

Student Center Ballroom 

gyasi photo


Campus Events of interest:

Racial Discrimination & Institutionalized Violence in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 from 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Student Center Terrace Room

In this panel discussion students, scholars, and the campus community will explore the involvement of governments and ordinary citizens in systems of targeted oppression and racial violence in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South within their specific historical contexts.

Bert & Fanny Meisler Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies, University of South Alabama
"Within the 'Christian State': Jewish German Lives under Siege"

Director of African American Studies and Assistant Professor of English, University of South Alabama
"Without Sanctuary: Lynchings in Alabama History"

Campus Outreach Program Officer, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
"Race and Violence in the Nazi Campaign against Homosexuality"

Chief Calvin McGhee Professor of Native American Studies and Director of the Archaeology Museum, University of South Alabama
"Denial of Equal Education to Native Americans"

This program is co-organized by the Department of History, Gender Studies Program, African American Studies Program, and the Native American Studies Program at the University of South Alabama. Generous support is provided by the Anne and Harry Chinitz Campus Outreach Lecture Fund of the USHMM's Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

For more information contact:
Dr. David Meola (
Dr. Jake Newsome (


If you would like to include your event on our Common Read/Common World Calendar please send all event information to