Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities

Draughon Seminars in State & Local History


Online Program: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 10 AM

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“Come Now, and Let Us Reason Together”: Cooperative Extension Clubs Empowerment of African American Farm Women and Girls, 1928-1965 

African American women played a crucial role in the Black Freedom Struggle in the United States, and one significant but overlooked contribution of their leadership development was participation in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Negro Cooperative Extension home demonstration and 4-H clubs. In addition to learning skills related to cooking, cleaning, canning, sewing and other domestic chores, many assumed leadership roles in Alabama neighborhood clubs and county-level councils, and, over time, club activities became an intergenerational emancipatory realm of personal fulfillment and citizenship rights consciousness. Focusing on Alabama from 1928-1965, and, especially, the life and work of Macon County’s Laura Randolph Day, Dr. Williams uses historical and genealogical research to explain how Daly's work was grounded in and enhanced by existing Afrocentric kinship, community, and religious beliefs and cultural practices. 

Dr. Shari L. Williams

Dr. Shari L. Williams is a historian of the modern American south, including the past, present, and future of rural historic landscapes and cultural traditions in Alabama’s Black Belt with an emphasis on social history through the lens of race, gender, and class. She is also a public historian. Dr. Williams is the first African-American woman to be conferred a Ph.D. in History from Auburn University. She is the Executive Director of The Ridge Macon County Archaeology Project which operates an interpretative center in Warrior Stand that offers educational programming focused on the history of the Federal Road through Macon County, multicultural migration, and rural community development. 

Draughon Seminars in State and Local History

Draughon Seminars in State and Local History are a series of lectures sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University. The series is funded by the Kelly Mosley Endowment in honor of Dr. Ralph B. Draughon, president of Auburn University from 1947 to 1965. Draughon was a historian with a deep commitment to both state history and public education. 

Online presentations and discussions with Dr. Williams are offered free of charge on a first come, first served basis to public libraries, historical societies, and other organizations. Programs will be scheduled May -  November 2021.

To schedule a program with Dr. Williams, email

Last Updated: September 29, 2021