The Evolution of Racism Through the Lens of ‘Lynching’ Rhetoric and Memory

“The significance of my masters thesis is rather timely; with the murder of George Floyd and several other Black members of the community by police, the discussion of “words and actions matter” is truly relevant. I hope than anyone interested in this line of research, notes the continuing narrative and rhetoric of government and politicians over the course of our history in relation to the importance of Black lives. Personally, my own dedication to continue pursuing this line of research has never been stronger.” #BlackLivesMatter


In her English Honors Thesis titled, Reaping the Whirlwind: How the Press Created Fear to Justify Anti-Black Legislation (1739-1898), Tammy analyzes press coverage of the Stono Rebellion, Nat Turner’s insurrection, and the Wilmington Race Riot. She provides the rare, connecting link between the agenda of the white elite press and how it spread fear among slave-owners and southern whites; in turn resulting in a devastating and long lasting negative impact on African Americans.

Tammy’s approach to the topic was one of the first inter-disciplinary theses submitted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, connecting both the English and History departments.


The Nature of Symbols was chosen for the Phillips Scholarship Award by the English Department at the University of Alabama @ Birmingham for 2016-17.  It is an analysis of the short story, “The Sky is Gray” by noted author Ernest J. Gaines.