Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category


Teaching of Slavery

In Spotlight on May 18, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: ,

Eleven graduate students across the nation were selected recently for research fellowships by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project. The fellowships are part of a multiyear initiative to improve the teaching of slavery in K-12 schools across the nation. The fellows curate historical documents and other teaching materials on American slavery to provide teachers with a resource of free and well-researched materials to use in the classroom.

Three graduate students working with Dr. Kathy Swan at the University of Kentucky College of Education – Carly Muetterties, Ryan Lewis and Kenny Stancil – are part of the cohort. Swan serves on the advisory board for the Teaching Tolerance project, and is the national fellows coordinator.

For more information about the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Teaching Tolerance project, visit


Dupont’s Op Ed

In Spotlight on March 27, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: ,

Check out the Lexington Herald-Leader op ed by former KATH President (leading the 2009 KATH meeting at EKU), Dr. Carolyn DuPont. It’s a call for us all to be brave: “… we must insistently advance our more complete story [of U.S. history]. Tell it loudly, tell it clearly, and tell it often.”

Originally titled: “Honoring Black and Women’s History in the Trump Era” it ran on March 24th with this title:

“Our half-true history serves privileged white males”

Backlash in the online comments as can be expected…


KATH Writing Awards

In KATH Awards,Spotlight on February 13, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth

Many thanks to those on the 2016-17 KATH Board who volunteered to serve as committee chairs for the 2017 KATH Student Writing Awards.

Heidi Taylor-Caudill will chair the Tolson Award committee. This writing award competition is for high school students and is named after a charter member of KATH and retired social studies teacher, Mrs. Anita Sanford Tolson.

Dr. Pattie Dillon and Crystal Culp will be chairing the two undergraduate student award competitions, the Clark Award committee and the Betts Award committee, respectively. Dr. Clark was an Americanist who was the first State Historian in Kentucky. See the AHA’s In Memorium article on Dr. Clark here. Dr. Betts was a French colonialist historian who first created KATH and was dedicated to the education of Kentuckians on the importance of history. See a blog post by Alan Cornett, on the impact Dr. Betts had on his students and everyone around him.

Amanda Higgins will chair the Herring Award committee who will be looking at submissions from this year’s graduate students. Dr. Herring is a great mentor and scholar whose work in foreign policy continues to serve as the bedrock for our understanding of the U.S. and the world around us. See the several videos of his presentations for C-SPAN here and you will get a sense of why his colleagues and students so respect him.

You can see past award winning papers on the KATH website in relationship with each year’s meeting – or you can see the links to the papers listed together on the bottom of the page here.

We look forward to seeing our new crop of winning papers for this coming fall.


D.W. Griffith films

In Spotlight on January 19, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

D.W. Griffith

Kentuckian D.W. Griffith (1875-1948)

The Oldham County History Center is celebrating is D.W. Griffith’s birthday today.  Here’s from Helen McKinney’s press release:

Celebrate D.W. Griffith’s Birthday!

D.W. Griffith movies at the Oldham County History Center
Feature Film Sundays

Sunday, January 22, 2017 from Noon – 4 p.m.
Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum
108 N. Second Ave., La Grange, Ky  40031

In honor of one of Oldham County’s most famous residents, the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum (located on the Oldham County History Center campus) will be showing a selection of D.W. Griffith’s most famous silent movies. Visitors to the museum, now open on Sundays from Noon – 4 p.m., will also be invited to enjoy a slice of cake to celebrate what would have been Griffith’s 142nd birthday.

David Wark Griffith (January 22, 1875-July 23, 1948) was born on a farm in Oldham County to Mary Perkins and Jacob “Roaring Jake” Griffith. Roaring Jake was a Confederate army colonel during the Civil War, and died when his son was ten years old. Four years later, the family moved to Louisville where Griffith’s mother opened a boarding house that soon failed. Griffith left high school to help support the family. It wasn’t long before he left Louisville to begin what would become a very lucrative film career.

Griffith got his start as an actor in touring companies. By 1908 he had begun making short films and accepted a job at Biograph . He released his first feature, Judith of Bethulia, in 1914; it was one of the earliest to be produced in the United States. Griffith’s film career was defined at Biograph, but he eventually left the company. He became one of the most famous American film directors, writers and producers in the business, and will be forever remembered as the filmmaker who pioneered modern filmmaking techniques.  One of his most popular movies was the 1915 silent classic, The Birth of a Nation. Controversial for its time, it made Griffith a house-hold name.

Sally of the Sawdust will be one of the D.W. Griffith films shown on Sunday, January 22 at the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum. Released on August 2, 1925, this silent comedy was based on the 1923 stage musical, Poppy. The film version starred W.C. Fields, Carol Dempster and Alfred Lunt. When her circus mother dies after being disowned, young Sally (Dempster) is raised by Professor Eustace McGargle (W.C. Fields), a juggler and small-time con man. McGargle trains Sally to dance for his opening act, and the pair joins a carnival based in Green Meadow, Conn. Visit the museum to learn how young Sally’s life turns out.

The showing of these D.W. Griffith movies is part of a new program, “Feature Film Sundays” at the museum. Every second and fourth Sunday of the month, movies with relevance to Oldham County will be shown. Museum hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sundays, Noon – 4 p.m.  Cost is $8 (adults), $6 (students, seniors and military with ID) and free for children 4 and under.

Oldham County Historical Society
106 N. Second Ave.
La Grange, KY  40031


Fake News, Civics Reasoning

In Spotlight on January 13, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

Reading like a historianAs history educators we are constantly teaching how to read critically – whether by example or in our assignments. So, the recent hullabaloo about “fake” news probably makes you want to just shake your head in disbelief that this is happening with such alacrity. This is the time for us as educators – whether in our classrooms or in general for our local communities – to take a leadership role. The public in general needs to be reminded that all information sources need to be analyzed for frame of reference and documented evidence. They need resources to make this kind of analysis happen, and we are the best at doing this kind of work.

Recently the News Literacy Project put out a questionnaire that you could share with others to use: “Ten Questions for Fake News Detection.” It’s a good place to start with those who are not yet proficient at close reading – or reading like a historian.

The Stanford History Education Group has done a lot of work in this area. Recently, they published a report summarizing what they found in their research: “Evaluating Information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning, Executive summary.” (November 22, 2016). The summary provides examples of assessments for middle school, high school, and college students. You might consider taking this on as a challenge for yourself and find if your own community-based research (or research projects by your students) garner the same results.

Please reply to this post and let us know what you are doing in this area.


Goan featured on KWSP

In Spotlight on November 20, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

Melanie Goan photo from UK History Department webpage

Dr. Melanie Beal Goan, UK

Dr. Melanie Goan, former KATH President and currently Assistant Professor in the History Department at the University of Kentucky, was featured recently in the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project (KWSP) portal on the H-Kentucky network.

Dr. Goan was interviewed by the new KWSP Fellow, Dr. Joanna Lile, about her work on a manuscript on the history of Kentucky women and their role in the fight for woman suffrage  locally, nationally and internationally.

See Dr. Lile’s post “A Conversation with Melanie Goan” on the KWSP blog. You can follow future blog posts with an RSS feed from the H-Kentucky network – or subscribe to the network today and receive updates via email.


Call for New Fellow

In Spotlight on September 12, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , , ,

The Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project invites applications for a part-time Fellow who supports this project’s unique digital portal with exemplary writing on Kentucky women’s history and culture for both scholars and nonacademic readers. The current Fellow, Kristen Thornsberry, has built up the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Timeline as well as starting up the blog and the project’s community page on Facebook. The project’s signature digital effort is to identify Kentucky’s suffrage sites and connect with a nation-wide Suffrage History Digital Map being developed by National Collaboration for Women’s Historical Sites (NCWHS) in collaboration with the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative led by the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum and the League of Women Voters.

If requesting compensation, the Fellow can be hired as a temporary employee at the University of Kentucky who would be trained and supervised by Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth. Pay to be negotiated. The Fellow will also collaborate with Dr. Melanie Goan (UK History Department) and Dr. Deirdre Scaggs (UK Special Collections), when needed. Most work can be done online via H-Kentucky and at a distance from UK.

Two or three Fellows can be appointed depending on availability and areas of expertise. We are looking for someone who is
– experienced in history research
– familiar with U.S. women’s history
– detail-oriented and careful with historical references
– organization and time-management skills
– communication skills
– comfortable with technical writing as well as informal social media posts
– basic Excel skills (for collecting digital map entries to be uploaded by the H-Net programmers)
– willing to track down information about records lost to history

Fellows will be working on topics related to the history of Kentucky woman suffrage and research should be published in some form on H-Kentucky: the blog, the timeline, the digital map, annotated bibliography, biographical sketches. The Fellow’s approach to a topic should be broad enough to appeal to students and scholars in several humanities and social sciences disciplines as well as an interested general public.

Applicants must have received at least a Masters degree in History by September 1, 2016. Please submit the following application materials to

  1. A curriculum vitae. Applicants are also encouraged to submit a list of links to online projects and/or social media accounts.
  2. A one-page abstract in addition to a detailed statement of the research topic the applicant would like to pursue during the term of the fellowship (not more than 750 words – this can be re-used for an introductory blog post).
  3. A brief, two-page proposal for a seminar (or webinar) series related to the applicant’s research.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from colleagues to whom candidates should send their research and webinar proposal. Letters of recommendation should include an evaluation of the candidate’s proposed research and webinar statements. Please ask referees to submit their letters directly to Letters must be submitted on or before October 1, 2016.

For further information, contact Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth at:
phone: 859-257-0047
or email Kristen Thornsberry at:

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