My name is Dallas Hanbury and I am entering the fourth and final year of my PhD in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University. In August 2012 I graduated from MTSU with my Masters in History with an emphasis in Public History (focusing on archives). As an undergraduate, my interest in archives drew me to Public History. Accordingly, I chose to pursue a master’s degree in the field. Although history always interested me, I did not become aware of Public History until my junior year of college. Now that I have spent five years immersed in learning the theory of and practicing Public History, I cannot imagine doing anything else. Public History expanded my definition of history and how professional, and non-professional, historians can and do use it.
My present research interests include Twentieth Century African-American history, the Black Freedom Movement, Public History, and archives. My Master’s thesis focused on a working class neighborhood in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and how local and national politics, modern urban planning, and a lack of historic preservation significantly altered it over time. My doctoral dissertation will depart from my masters work and explore how public libraries in the southeastern United States served African-American patrons during segregation, underwent desegregation, and dealt with the institutional change that accompanied integration .