History Alumna Credits Faculty With Career Spark

History alumna Dr. Anne Bailey poses in front of Devil’s Den at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania in 2014. (Photo contributed)
History alumna Dr. Anne Bailey poses in front of Devil’s Den at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania in 2014. (Photo contributed)

An interest in Civil War military history and plenty of encouragement from The University of Texas at Arlington faculty members spurred a nearly 30-year career for Anne Bailey (’82).

Bailey, a Cleburne native, enrolled at UT Arlington in the early 1980s as a history major with plans to teach. She was intrigued by Civil War history – Cleburne is named for Patrick Cleburne, an Irish immigrant who fought for the Confederates – and 19th century military history. Faculty mentors like Homer Kerr, George Green and Kathleen Underwood encouraged her to pursue this growing passion and consider a career in high education.

“You didn’t see many women go into Civil War history,” Bailey said. “Homer Kerr was very supportive and encouraged me. I was very lucky to not wind up with professors who said I couldn’t do it.

“The whole History faculty was very supportive and very helpful. It made my time there something I treasured. After I started teaching in the university setting it was great to have had that experience.”

From UTA, Bailey headed a few miles west to Texas Christian University where she earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. She taught classes at Tarrant County Junior College, Texas Tech University, Georgia Southern University and University of Arkansas-Fayetteville before retiring in 2010 from Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Ga. During that time, Bailey has written a number of scholarly works on Civil War military history, won numerous awards, and is a member of several organizations including the Society of Civil War Historians and two historical associations in Georgia and Arkansas.

Retired and residing back in her hometown of Cleburne, Bailey spends most of her time traveling or researching new book projects. Though she’s addressed the issues in chapters of previous books, she is considering a new work focused solely on the lives of Southern slaves during the Civil War.

“My new book centers on African American soldiers who started as slaves in the South and lived in places the Union came through and occupied, then were recruited into units in the U.S. Army,” she said. “These are slaves who had no education, no background, and were not allowed by law to carry a gun, but were recruited to fight for the Union. I think it’s a fascinating story of what happened to them during that time and when the war ended.”

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