Civil Rights archivist named operations director at Alabama Humanities

Laura Caldwell Anderson

Laura Caldwell Anderson

Laura Caldwell Anderson, former archivist and director for Special Projects at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, has joined Alabama Humanities Foundation as Director of Operations.

Anderson served at BCRI for more than 15 years. A native of Rome, GA, she is a graduate of University of Montevallo and earned graduate degrees from both the University of West Georgia and the University of Alabama with an educational emphasis on History and American Studies.

She has been an AHF Road Scholar for years and is well acquainted with the AHF mission. She has been active in various statewide organizations, both presenting and serving in a number of leadership positions.

As AHF’s director of operations, she will become the primary point of contact for Alabama Bicentennial efforts for AHF, which is centered on a traveling exhibit of Alabama history, culture and environment that will tour all 67 counties in the state in 2018-19.

Inside AHF, she will coordinate outgoing grant applications and manage all special projects, including AHF’s signature event, the annual Alabama Humanities Awards Luncheon.

A graduate of the Seminar for Historical Administration and the Getty NextGen Leadership Institute, she also is active with the Avondale Elementary PTA and Art in Avondale Park Alliance, Inc. She is married to Will Anderson, PhD, who works at UAB, and their son, Walter, is a third grader at Avondale Elementary School.

“I am honored to have the opportunity AHF has given me to promote humanities throughout Alabama,” Anderson said. “Humanities are central to the quality of everyday life in our state, and I am eager to work toward AHF’s mission to foster learning, understanding and appreciation of our people, communities and cultures.”

In making the announcement, AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser stressed Anderson’s background as an ideal fit for the organization. “We feel confident that with Laura’s past experience with programs and grants, her extensive expertise and her valuable insight, she will build on the strides we have made. Her work will lead to an even stronger Alabama Humanities Foundation and what we have to offer across this state.”

More about Laura Caldwell Anderson:

Member, Alabama Historical Records Advisory Board
Region 4 Chair, National Leadership Team, American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)
Road Scholar (Speakers’ Bureau), Alabama Humanities Foundation
Review Committee, American Alliance of Museums
International Fellowship Program
Review Committee, Oral History Association
Emerging Crisis Research Fund
Reviewer, Folklife Grants, Alabama State Council on the Arts
Past President, Society of Alabama Archivists
Conference presenter: AASLH, Society of American Archivists, American Alliance of Museums, Oral History Association, Alabama Library Association, Alabama Museums Association, Association of African American Museums, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

MA History, University of West Georgia
MA American Studies, University of Alabama
BA International Studies, University of Montevallo

Seminar for Historical Administration / Class of 2014
Project Management for History Professionals (AASLH)/ April 2010
Getty Leadership Institute NextGen / Class of 2005
Jekyll Island Management Institute / Class of 2004

Archivist and Director, Special Projects Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) Birmingham, AL
November 2015 – Present
• Strategic director, BCRI 25th anniversary commemorative activities and partnerships
• Contributing author, Fostering Empathy in Museums (Ed. Elif Gokcigdem, Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming 2016)
Archivist / Oral History Project Director (BCRI)
March 2003 – November 2016
• Manager, patron services; processing archivist; collection development; supervision of interns.
• Administrator, Museums Connect (AAM) exchange project with sister institutions in South Africa
• Fundraiser, Crowd-sourced campaign to support digitization of BCRI Oral History Project
• Contributing author, Museums in a Global Context: National Identity, International Understanding (Eds. Dickey, El Azhar, Lewis, American Alliance of Museums Press, 2013)
• Author/Photo editor, Civil Rights in Birmingham (Arcadia Press, November 2013)

• Community Celebration and Documentation Coordinator, Program for Rural Services & Research, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
October 1996 – August 2000
• Organizer, Statewide Celebration of Rural Alabama – April 27-29, 2000 – State Capitol, Montgomery
• Associate Producer, Here I Stand: Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song – Larry Long with Youth and Elders of Rural Alabama (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1996)