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Montgomery's U.S. District Court: A History

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This podcast is part of the series: ArchiTreats: Food for Thought


Dr. R. Volney Riser


Alabama Department of Archives and History


ArchiTreats: Food for Thought continues another year of informative talks on Alabama history at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Join us as R. Volney Riser presents Montgomery’s U.S. District Court: A History.

In his presentation Riser will explore the district court from its earliest days as the United States Court for the Tombigbee District of the Mississippi Territory through the 1940s and the earliest days of the modern civil rights movement. He will visit the personalities of some of the judges, including Harry Toulmin (the man who arraigned Vice‐president Aaron Burr for treason), Richard Busteed (the carpetbagger judge who was widely considered to be the most corrupt man in Alabama), former governor Thomas Goode Jones (who, as judge, aided an attack on the 1901 Alabama Constitution), and Charles Brents Kennamer (the north Alabama Republican who quietly presided over some of the eent). arliest courtroom skirmishes of the mid‐twentieth century civil rights movement.

Dr. R. Volney “Rob” Riser is Assistant Professor of History and Co‐chair of the Department of History and Social Sciences at the University of West Alabama. He has authored two books: Defying Disfranchisement: Black Voting Rights Activism in the Jim Crow South, 18901908 and A Goodly Heritage, a History of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. He is currently working on his third and fourth books: The Litigious Mr. Washington: Booker T. Washington’s Legal Battle Against Jim Crow and Politics, Popular Constitutionalism, and Disfranchisement. He also has published articles in the Southern Historian, Alabama Law Review, and the American Journal of Legal History.

ArchiTreats: Food for Thought lecture series is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. The public is invited to bring a sack lunch and enjoy a bit of Alabama history. Coffee and tea will be provided by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. For more information, call (334) 353‐4726.

Length: 54:00

Content Areas: Social Studies

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

SS2010 (11) United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
14. Trace events of the modern Civil Rights Movement from post-World War II to 1970 that resulted in social and economic changes, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, the March on Washington, Freedom Rides, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March. (Alabama) [A.1.c., A.1.d., A.1.f., A.1.i., A.1.j., A.1.k.]
  • Tracing the federal government's involvement in the modern Civil Rights Movement, including the abolition of the poll tax, the nationalization of state militias, Brown versus Board of Education in 1954, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Explaining contributions of individuals and groups to the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; James Meredith; Medgar Evers; Thurgood Marshall; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and the civil rights foot soldiers
  • Appraising contributions of persons and events in Alabama that influenced the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Rosa Parks, Autherine Lucy, John Patterson, George C. Wallace, Vivian Malone Jones, Fred Shuttlesworth, the Children's March, and key local persons and events (Alabama)
  • Describing the development of a Black Power movement, including the change in focus of the SNCC, the rise of Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panther movement
  • Describing the economic impact of African-American entrepreneurs on the modern Civil Rights Movement, including S. B. Fuller and A. G. Gaston (Alabama)


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