History graduate student wins dissertation research award

May 15, 2024
woman smiling

We are excited to share another award recipient from our esteemed graduate program! Allie Lopez has received the John Higham Research Fellowship at the Organization of American Historians 2024 Conference on American History in New Orleans this last month. The John Higham Research Fellowship helps support graduate students writing doctoral dissertations for a PhD in American History by helping fund their research needed to write their dissertation. Two annual awards are given in memory of John Higham (1920-2003), past president of the OAH and an important figure in immigration, ethnic, and intellectual history. 

Lopez’s proposal, “The Injustice that Permeates: Jim Crow, Fear, and Dispossession in Rural Alabama, 1930–1985” answers the call to “make civil rights harder” by shifting the narrative focus from small groups of activists to the large majority of rural Black southerners who did not engage in active resistance and suffered under the yoke of white supremacy. Taking Alabama’s Black belt as a case study, Allie Lopez works to excavate the daily textures of life under Jim Crow for this dispossessed majority, using a range of archival sources to describe “local iterations of white structural control and how Black women and men endured and engaged in their communities.” The dissertation describes the many and varied obstacles that the system of white domination placed in the way of rural Black residents, some of whom may have been tempted to join the civil rights struggle and others of whom wanted nothing at all to do with it. The project also explores how these dispossessed figures experienced and understood their circumstances. Lopez will use the Higham Fellowship funds to travel to the Auburn University Libraries and the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans.

Congratulations on receiving this award, Allie!