In 2010 and 2012, the Southern Studies faculty of Mercer University hosted NEH institutes for school teachers on Cotton Culture in the U.S. South, 1865-1965.
The institute allowed twenty-five teachers of English, history, economics, government, geography, art, and music to learn about the complex social structures of the U.S. South in the crucial, yet frequently misunderstood, hundred years between the end of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, a period that included both major social problems and amazing cultural development. An interdisciplinary panel of experts on the South used the cultivation of cotton—the South's most significant economic product during this time—as a means to analyze and understand the region's history, geography, economics, politics, culture, and literature.
Macon, Georgia, about an hour's drive south of Atlanta, is an ideal location from which to study the history and culture of cotton. Nicknamed "the market city," it was once a center of cotton commerce and textile production. Workshops met on the campus of Mercer University in downtown Macon, and participants also visited a nineteenth-century plantation, a working cotton farm, the Civil Rights historic district of Atlanta, and the cotton seaport in Savannah.
This site contains information pertaining to the institute held in 2012. For more information about the institute, contact Sarah Gardner, firstname.lastname@example.org.