Tuesday, March 12, 2013

BPL's Director of Development Receives David Warren Bowen Award for Paper on Gee's Bend

Molley Mooney, Roman Pettway
Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections

Kelsey Bates, the Birmingham Public Library’s Director of Development and the library’s former Assistant Archivist, has received the David Warren Bowen Award from the Alabama Association of Historians. Kelsey received the award because her paper "The Women of Gee’s Bend" was selected as the best paper presented at the Association’s annual meeting in Florence last month.

While the world knows Gee’s Bend for its quilts, Kelsey spoke about the insights revealed in oral histories conducted by Alabama writer and storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham with the residents of this rural community in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Those oral histories are now preserved in the BPL Archives and available online. Kelsey’s research looks at foodways, and she has discovered that as the women of Gee’s Bend discussed food—growing, cooking, and eating traditions—they simultaneously revealed their feelings, beliefs, and ideas about culture, politics and life in Gee's Bend.

Submitted by Jim Baggett
Archives Department
Central Library

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