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Dr. Alicia Jackson Receives Louisville Project Grant for Researchers

Dr. Alicia Jackson, associate professor of history, was awarded a 2016 Louisville Project Grant for Researchers from The Louisville Institute. The institute provides grants to both scholar/pastors and scholar/educators and is interested in advancing American religious and theological scholarship. The Louisville Project Grant for Researchers supports research projects for researchers who are interested in work that will enrich believers and benefit the church.


Jackson’s research project will focus on Isaac Anderson, a black minister and politician who lived during Reconstruction. Anderson was a founding pastor of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church while also serving as a senator in Georgia. Anderson’s story provides a window into the experience of many African-American ministers who, as Jackson’s research proposal explains, “negotiated the weight of their spiritual calling, the precariousness of their political office, and the abasement of their need to maintain paternalistic relations with white leaders and denominations such as the Methodist Episcopal, South, during a period now known as the nadir of race relations.”


Jackson’s research into Anderson’s life began with one line in her dissertation. Since that time she’s been fascinated by his life and work and has continued to learn more about the minister and politician.


“It’s a really fascinating story,” said Jackson. “I’m interested in the complexity of this African-American man who is a minister and who is also involved in politics. This was a period where there was significant respect for people who were ministers. I hope the project will help provide a greater understanding of the complexity of the issues facing African Americans during Reconstruction and today.”


The Louisville Project Grant will allow Jackson to visit and research various places Anderson lived or traveled. She will visit locations in Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas, combing through archives and learning more about Anderson’s life. Jackson is in the process of writing a book about Anderson that will appeal to academics and be accessible for the lay reader.