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The University of Alabama

Spears Set to Talk PCBs Oct. 13 at UA

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Ellen Griffith Spears, an assistant professor at The University of Alabama, shares portions of her award-winning book, “Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town,” in room 205 of the Amelia Gorgas Library Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.

The book chronicles the link between chemical contamination—particularly polychlorinated biphenyls—and the civil rights history in the city of Anniston.

Spears, an assistant professor in New College and the department of American studies, recently won the 2014 Arthur J. Viseltear Prize — awarded for outstanding contribution to public health history through a recent book or for distinguished, lifelong contribution to history and public health scholarship.

In her book, Spears offers a compelling narrative of Anniston’s battles for environmental justice, exposing how systemic racial and class inequalities reinforced during Jim Crow played out in these intense contemporary social movements.

Situating the personal struggles and triumphs of Anniston residents within the town’s military-industrial history and a larger national story of regulatory regimes and legal strategies, Spears unflinchingly explores the causes and implications of environmental inequalities, showing how Civil Rights Movement activism undergirded Anniston’s campaigns for redemption and justice.

A reception and book signing follows Spears’ talk. The event is free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by the department of American studies, New College and the Summersell Center for the Study of the South.

The department of American studies, New College and the Summersell Center for the Study of the South are part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and Truman Scholarships.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.