Monday 16th July 2012, 1.30pm (day 326)
Like many US universities, at least, those called ‘The University of X’ where X is the name of a state, the University of Alabama is located in a relatively small town, that being, Tuscaloosa. Tuscaloosa is not the most exciting place in the world (even compared to Hebden Bridge, let alone New Orleans), so expect to see a few shots of picturesque Southern architecture over the next few days, as there’s not a great deal to capture. This is the Denny Chimes tower, a bell-tower on the southern end of the main quadrangle. Although the university has been here since 1820, only four buildings on the campus are older than 1865, because in that year the campus was burnt to the ground by Unionist troops during the War Between the States (aka the American Civil War, but I’m in the South so let’s use their term for it).
I’m here to work with my colleague Angela Benson, whose position here, as a black female academic, is more impressive than one might initially think: astonishingly, segregation on the campus was only ended in 1963 – just six years before I was born! – and was achieved despite the personal opposition of George Wallace, the state governor at the time, who literally stood ‘in the schoolhouse door’ to protest the enrolment of the first two black students.
So now you know. But I do quite like it here even if it is not a very eventful place. At least it’s warm and sunny.