Project Reflection

Conflict in America taught me many things throughout the semester. Not only did I learn about website creation and digital archiving, but I also learned at a surface level how challenging graduate school is going to be for me.

When I heard about this class, I was a little hesitant in applying for it. I do not do very well with online classes due to the lack of class meetings. This class was worth it, and while I was stressed out at multiple times, I do think that the class meetings were very beneficial. I liked being able to connect and see my professor’s face. I have taken online classes for UA Early College before, and I took a history class with a professor named Dr. Ratliff. I never saw the guy’s face, I never got a chance to connect with him, nothing. I just had to look up the UA faculty page to remember his name. With both Dr. Welch and Dr. Wallace, I will FOR SURE always remember their faces and their names.

Archiving the Nondiscrimination Ordinance in Montevallo was an experience I will never forget. I will not forget it. It was challenging, yet enjoyable. I was always interested in the information I researched. The most exciting piece of information I found was the page out of one of the earliest yearbooks that included the photos of the women being very close with each other. It just surprised me, and the archivist was super helpful in giving Lillian and I another resource to think about using.

Conducting interviews (actually, just trying to get an interview) was the most stressful portion of this project. When I was on the yearbook staff in high school, getting an interview for our publication was not as stressful as it was with some of the adults we reached out to. I guess it is because I was in the same building as my school mates five days a week, but I had no faces to put with some of the names we had for this project.

One of the most enjoyable things about this project was getting to deep dive into history about the city of Montevallo that I never knew before now. However, one of the problems that came out of this is that the more I researched, the more I could not stop. I do this a lot with other projects; right now, I am working on a project for my social justice class, and the researching I am doing just keeps piling up on me. It is just amazing to see what you uncover when you do research. I love it.

I am going to be completely honest: this was the worst semester for me to take this course. I enjoyed the class and I am so grateful for having the opportunity to take it, but it felt like every worst possible thing that could ever happen in a semester happened to me.

I struggled with my mental health throughout this whole year, and it just seemed that it was getting more difficult to cope with as this semester drew on. The passing of my grandfather to ALS was just the icing on the cake for me, especially since he inspired me to be ambitious and always aim for the best. I really wish he had more time because I knew he would have loved seeing this project.

The sweetest (and the coolest) man I ever knew and will ever know. ❤ Here he is pictured with his longtime co-anchor Cindy Sexton.
My grandfather, Cindy Sexton, and DAN RATHER. What a cool dude.
My grandfather with Richard Simmons. Before this photo was taken, Richard exclaimed, “Be still my heart!” In short, everyone thought my grandfather was hot.

Sorry for rambling about my grandfather. It just seems to easier to really show everyone why I took this class and how difficult it was at the same time.

What makes the ending of this awful semester and this amazing class easier is that being able to talk with Dr. Welch and Dr. Wallace really made me feel like I did have some support behind me and listening to all of you speak with such passion about your projects really turned my mood around. This class changed me and prepared me for graduate school and the stressful days that come with it.

Getting Ready for the Website Draft

Lillian and I are very hard at work trying to make our website look neat and interesting! This project reminded me how much I love (and sometimes hate) Photoshop and the Internet in its entirety.

However, since we are quickly approaching the deadline to submit our websites, we have found that we have to discard some of our ideas that we originally came up with.

The biggest obstacle in this project was getting interviews. So far we only have two completed. This is due to the fact that only these two people got back to us on wanting to share the information they had. Dr. Eckelman was easy to get because Lillian and I are both very close with her, and the other interviewee is a person who reached out through the Montevallo Acceptance Project.

We tried emailing people who were in opposition of the NDO, but we only got one response from the city councilman who did not want to participate. Everyone else just kind of ignored us. Instead of being persistent and checking in on them, we decided that their nonresponse was enough to tell us that they were not interested in speaking with us. We also felt that this was for the best due to some of the information we gathered from Dr. Eckelman about an information panel being set up that had spread some shameful comments and misinformation.

Another idea we had to was to include lots and lots of pictures. This is not going to happen because pictures are very limited with this particular issue. The only pictures we did gather are for the history of the town and the university, but that is because most of the pictures are public domain. We only found two photos of the actual formation of the NDO occurring, and I am still awaiting a response from the online editor of The Alabamian. This is also the most stressful part of the semester for everyone here at Montevallo, so I have a feeling that the response I am waiting may or may not come.

Since we are facing these two big obstacles, I hope that we can converse with you guys tomorrow and see what we should do in order to still have a successful project.

Project Updates

On the Tuesday before our Spring Break, I was in my Social Justice class listening to the university’s archivist lecture on the history of Montevallo and the university in regards to “place-based education” and social justice. He passed around some old yearbooks from when the University of Montevallo was known as the Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute, and I noticed in the 1925 edition this particular page.

If you look at the photo on the right middle, you can see that there are two female students in an intimate pose, and it seems that they are also in the pictures throughout the page. I talked to the archivist, and he said he was not sure what is supposed to be happening in the picture, and that he does not know what the students in 1925 meant by “Sport Models.” However, he did give Lillian and I some information about a professor doing research on “Wellesley marriages,” and that he would let her know that we were interested in talking to her.

On the topic of pictures, I have been gathering photos from the library’s archival site to see what Lillian and I should include in our photo gallery for the history of the town and the university. As of now, the archive site does not have the copy of the school’s newspaper about the NDO, but I am getting in contact with Jamie Hass (online editor of the The Alabamian) to see if we can get permission to use the pictures they have. As of now, here are a few links I have found:

Research Contract for COPLAC Digital Conflict in America


Our purpose in analyzing the passage of the Montevallo Non-Discrimination Ordinance, an amendment to Article IV of Chapter 16 of Montevallo Municipal Code, is to examine the conflict which arose from the creation, debate, and passage of the amendment. By understanding the conflict regarding the Montevallo Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which expanded recognized minority groups protected against discrimination within the city of Montevallo, we can begin to understand the conflicts which can arise due to differences in belief and identity within the southeastern United States. This project will address differences in identities within the LGBTQIA+ community and their specific needs, as well as concepts such as the negotiation of value systems within our town and community efforts towards grassroots movements.

Our audience will be Montevallo community members, anyone interested in the concept of a non-discrimination ordinance, or conflicts surrounding LGBTQIA+ issues in the South. This website could also draw attention from individuals interested in city government cooperation alongside community groups and universities.

Website Layout & Tools

The main web page should include a brief explanation of the project, alongside multiple tabs which will be in order according to the narrative. The main web page should serve as the introduction and overview (abstract/synopsis) of the conflict and resolution. Subsequent web pages will be ordered to give a better understanding of the nature of the conflict. This will include a brief history of Montevallo, summaries of events such as town halls and forums, drafts of the non-discrimination ordinance and explanations of why changes were made to the amendment, and the final resolution which was passed by the city of Montevallo, and incorporated into the municipal code. This should provide an educational experience to anyone who is interested in understanding the way in which this conflict came about, the constructive ways in which the city government sought to include the entirety of the Montevallo community within the discussion.

Tools (what theme, plug ins, and layout will we incorporate, how will we make the site our own to the best of our abilities, what other tools do we intend to use, will we use a timeline, maps, etc. and what programs will we use to execute them):

Still to be decided: layout, maps, colors, etc.

We expect to use TimeLineJS by KnightLab for the history of Montevallo as well as the history and development of the non-discrimination ordinance. Audio will likely be edited with Audacity, should we record our interview. We will utilize WordPress media to upload .pdf documents which can be viewed through click-through links. Photos will come from primary and secondary sources (such as the Alabamian, our school newspaper, and photos taken by community members). Pictures will be displayed in Cincopa Gallery or uploaded directly through WordPress.

Schedule of Milestones (Distribution of Labor)


  • historical write up about the city of Montevallo, the University of Montevallo and it’s evolution
  • create design elements for the website, such as color scheme and certain elements that tie together the website
  • contact Sally Smith and request interview
  • create interview questions, and make them specific for each interviewee
  • acquire demographics for the City of Montevallo through City Clerk’s office
  • if we are able to record interviews, then writing up transcripts of audio recordings for ADA accessibility


  • schedule and conduct in-person interviews
  • compile articles and other information from City Clerk notes
  • create photo galleries and timelines, as well as any other media such as maps
  • compile non-discrimination ordinance drafts and final resolution, distinguish between each one for clarity
  • assist Kendall in narrative writing for historical information page
  • research information regarding the LGBTQIA+ community to be used for web page specific to explaining the community, their needs, and relation to Montevallo

Story Map

I wanted to try out Story Map, but then I learned that maybe it may not be the best thing for mine and Lillian’s project. The wifi on campus (actually, the internet on campus in general) is not great, so I am not sure if that affected how my story map turned out. I tried using specific addresses, but it either pulled up no results or just pulled up the city of Montevallo in general. I think that Google My Maps may have been the one to try with certain addresses, even though our conflict was contained into our small city.

I do like the format of Story Map, since it has the same style as the Timeline app, so the experience of using this particular feature was not too much of a bust.

Project Idea

Last week was probably the worst week for me to be sick, because we got to share our ideas with everyone. Lilly and I had a great idea for our project, and we decided that we should look into reporting on Montevallo’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance. Montevallo is the second city in Alabama to establish an NDO. (Birmingham was the first, in case you were wondering.)

The Montevallo NDO was a huge issue in our community for a while. There were many meetings about it, and many people on both sides were very heated over the NDO. My major advisor was very active in helping educate the city on the importance of having the NDO, and she has many stories to tell. Our mayor Hollie Cost is also a great source for information, and it helps that she is a professor on campus as well. So, Lilly and I think that a great way to get information about the NDO is to talk to the people who were an active part in the conflict. We could also do some small profiles on the people, because Lilly and I believe that to best understand your community, you must understand the people that live there.

I feel that our library will be a huge help, because I am highly positive that they have many resources on what happened during the time the NDO caused some conflict in Montevallo. We have an awesome Historian here, and he will definitely be a big help. He is very great about preserving the history of Montevallo.

WordPress is Confusing

WordPress has proved to me that editing the look of a blog is just as frustrating as it was when I was an avid Tumblr user. Creating a post is no problem, and I love how I can manipulate the text to make it look however I want. However, creating a theme for my blog is frustrating. It could be because I am very indecisive about how I want things to look, but I have no clue to link certain pages within my blog to my homepage. So, I am hoping that YouTube will be a big help.

My face when I am trying to figure out WordPress.