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Auburn history professor awarded fellowship at The Huntington

Adam Domby

Adam H. Domby, associate professor in Auburn University's Department of History, has been awarded the prestigious Kemble Fellowship at the The Huntington Library, a world-renowned collection of libraries, galleries and gardens to support scholarship, foster learning, inspire creativity and offer transformative experiences for diverse audiences. The Kemble Fellowship is one of just 13 long-term fellowships given out annually by The Huntington.

Domby's project, "Freedom's War on the Waters: The Forgotten Story of How African Americans Won the Civil War at Sea and Saved the Union," aims to tell the story of Black sailors and their role in the American Civil War. Inland and riverine raids are often overlooked aspects of naval warfare during the Civil War. Using formerly enslaved individuals who knew the waterways, the Union was able to hamper the Confederacy's ability to wage war through raids. 

"Destroying salt works, rice mills and other resources hamstrung the Confederate war effort. By 1865, rice and salt production on the southern coasts had decreased to a trickle of prewar amounts," said Domby. "These raids increased the size of the U.S. military by decimating slavery deep in the South as many of these newly freed people went on to join the U.S. military."

While at The Huntington, Domby will have access to a globally recognized research library containing vital sources of information, such as rare manuscript collections. He hopes to tell the stories of Black sailors and uncover new information that hasn't yet made it into textbooks. 

"Not only will this fellowship allow me to spend a year researching and writing a book, but it will let me tell an amazing story that needs telling, that of African American sailors and how they helped win the Civil War," said Domby. "I expect the manuscript collections at The Huntington will provide insights into the daily life of Black sailors and provide additional new stories. I can't wait to see what other stories I will discover as I dive into the documents."

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Tags: History Faculty Research

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