Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Graphic novel provides alternative view on southern life in civil rights era

The Summersell Center for the Study of the South will host author Lila Quintero Weaver Thursday. Weaver will be speaking about her life experiences as child of South American immigrants and her graphic novel “Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White.”

According to Summersell Center’s website, the mission of the center is “to investigate and promote understanding of the history and culture of the American South through research and public programming.”

Joshua Rothman, associate professor of history and African-American studies, is the director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South.

“I came to the study of the South through my research interests in slavery,” he said. “But I think the region is one with a fascinating history that continues to be present in everyday life in ways that you don’t quite feel in most part of the United States.”

The Summersell Center studies the past, present and future of the American South region in a variety of ways.

“The Summersell Center has an ongoing slate of programming throughout the academic year,” said Rothman. “We host talks and conferences, sponsor film screenings and concerts, support student and scholarly research and generally do our best with the resources we’ve got to provide engaging events for the University and the larger community.”

Thursday’s event will be another way for the center to explore the South’s history through a different pair of eyes – a South American’s.

Weaver’s novel focuses on growing up as a child of South American immigrants in the civil rights era of the South. It gives a perspective on the South’s history from a unique point of view.

“Hers is a story we don’t often hear,” Rothman said. “We’re used to thinking of the South, especially during the civil rights era, as a black and white story. Weaver’s work reminds us of the complexities of race and ethnicity that were always there but that often get buried underneath the central narrative.”

Rothman also said Weaver’s novel could be a way to get more students interested in the South’s history.

“As a professor, I’m used to the complaints students have about reading, but I’ve found that graphic novels are works that students can really latch onto,” he said. “I think ‘Darkroom’ would be super in the classroom, but is also just a great read.”

Weaver’s novel and presentation will allow the audience to think of the civil rights era with a broader lens.

Rachel Ramey, a freshman majoring in civil engineering, said she believes Weaver’s story is beneficial for learning more about the South’s history.

““I think [Hispanics] are a big part of our history,” Ramey said. “They’re just as much American as anyone. I think it’s important that you see all sides of a story, especially on an issue where there’s a more prominent perspective that everyone looks at. It’s important to look at people who are less apparent too.”

The presentation will give the audience a more authentic perspective of the civil tights time period.

“I’d like those who attend this event to get a feel for what it was like to grow up in the South during the civil rights era, and especially what it was like to be someone who was sort of an outsider to the culture,” said Rothman. “While there are things about a place and a society that only those raised in it can completely grasp, sometimes those who come at it from the outside see things that those who are native to it can never see.”

Weaver’s presentation will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. in Room 110 of the AIME building. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided, and the book will be available for purchase. For more information, visit


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