Projects in the Research/Development Pipeline


“Gyp.” Before Charlie Sifford and Tiger Woods, there was Solomon “Gyp” Hughes, a Black caddy master and professional golfer from Gadsden, Alabama. Hughes challenged the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour when he attempted to play in the all-white 1948 St. Paul Minnesota Open. Hughes, a gifted golfer, and insightful instructor, gave golf lessons to boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson. This is the untold story of Hughes’ life, and an avid white golfer’s efforts to have him inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. 

“The Proving Grounds?” In the late 1960s, two young Black men from Alabama’s Hill Country were drawn into the Vietnam war. One, J.D., a civil rights foot soldier, and the son of a Black Baptist minister from a steel town, trained in chemicals, combat, and the culinary arts before he eventually became a first cook at Blackhorse Base Camp in southern Vietnam. The other, Hollis, from a small family farm, some 30 minutes away, became a Marine and engaged in some of the fiercest fighting of the war near Quảng Trị in central Vietnam. This experimental project will examine the unique experience, memories, and epistemology of these soldiers, born to working-class Black families in northern Alabama.