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Felipe Fernandez-Armesto: AHA Sends Letter of Protest to Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta

In a letter to Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, Georgia, AHA President Barbara Weinstein, Past President Linda K. Kerber, and Executive Director Arnita A. Jones, expressed the AHA Council’s concern over an incident between historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto and an Atlanta police officer, that began with jaywalking and escalated to an 8 hour ordeal in jail. Below is an excerpt from the letter, and a link to the full text.

Dear Mayor Franklin:

We write to you on behalf of the Council of the American Historical Association to express our profound concern about an incident that occurred on the first day of the AHA meetings in Atlanta [January 4-7]. The members of the AHA who attended the annual meetings this past week are very grateful to Dr. Jamil Zainaldin and the other members of the Local Arrangements Committee for doing so much to make us feel very welcome in their home town. Unfortunately, some of our members were made to feel considerably less welcome by Atlanta police officers working as security guards for the hotels where the meetings were headquartered. In their zeal to prevent jay-walking between the Marriott and Hilton Hotels, some of these guards went well beyond what we would regard as helpful intervention…

[The letter recounts the details of the incident and concludes:"In light of this experience, it would only be after the Association has received assurances from the appropriate municipal authorities that the problem has been addressed that we could again consider Atlanta as a future site for the AHA's annual meeting."]

Read entire article at AHA Blog