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BPC history professor published in Tennessee Historical Quarterly

Dr. Mary Waalkes
Dr. Mary Waalkes

By Kelley M. Arnold

Director of News and Public Information

MOUNT VERNON—Dr. Mary Waalkes, an associate history professor at Brewton-Parker College, will soon see her name in print as the co-author of an article in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly (THQ), an award-winning journal published by the Tennessee Historical Society in cooperation with the Tennessee Historical Commission. The publication presents the most recent scholarship on the history and culture of the “Volunteer State.”


Dr. Waalkes co-authored the article, “Flying Below the Radar: Activist, Paternalist, and Obstructionist Responses to the Civil Rights Movement in Three East Tennessee Communities,” with friend and former co-worker, Donna Summerlin. Summerlin is a full professor of English in the English and Modern Foreign Language Department at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., who specializes in Southern and Appalachian Literature.


Dr. Waalkes and Summerlin began the joint project in June 2002 during a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar at Ferrum College in Virginia. The seminar focused on “Regional Studies for Liberal Arts Learning: An Appalachian Exemplar.” Waalkes and Summerlin presented their research to the Appalachian Studies Association’s meeting in Dayton, Ohio in March 2006, and in the ensuing summer, sent the article to the THQ.


“Dr. Waalkes has made a significant contribution to the study of ethnicity in Appalachia with this article,” said Dr. Lee Cheek, chair of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences at BPC. “I hope she will develop these themes into a longer study. She is a great asset to our division and the college.”


“It’s exciting to see it published,” said Dr. Waalkes of the project. “It’s not just an article. Our research looked at the premise of what and how the civil rights movement played out was according to the size of the community and the relative openness of the community.”


“We did a lot of research,” Dr. Waalkes continues, as she points to stacks of manila file folders in her office brimming with white sheets representing the hours of research both she and Summerlin spent in libraries – large and small – around the state of Tennessee. “We have talked about expanding it into a book; and when we presented it at ASA, we had two different publishers tell us they would be interested in our manuscript should we write one.”


Dr. Waalkes said that project is still “in the works”. Until then, she’s looking forward to seeing the hardcopy of her hard work in mid-Feburary, the publication’s press date. Up until this point, she’s only seen digital proofs of the 24 pages from the publisher.


Dr. Waalkes is also getting ready for spring semester at BPC, where she’s teaching five classes this semester, including World Civilizations, African American History, and Civil War and Reconstruction. Classes resumed at the four-year accredited Christian college Monday, Jan. 14 on all seven of its sites, with the main campus located in Mount Vernon.


To learn more about Waalkes’ publication, visit THQ’s website:



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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM