Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Film, Theatre & Communication Arts - Creative Writing concentration


Film, Theatre, and Communication Arts

Major Professor

Bates, Randolph

Second Advisor

Hazlett, John

Third Advisor

Steeby, Elizabeth

Fourth Advisor

Harvey, Miles


Lightless Mornings: A Fine Legacy represents a personal interrogation and historical account of my great-great -great grandfather, W.D. McCurdy’s use of forced labor in his coalmines and cotton plantations in the Black Belt region of Alabama during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Through personal research including interviews with other descendents of McCurdy, as well as scholarly research about the practice of convict leasing in Alabama, I explore dynamics of inheritance, economics, power, privilege, race, class, geography, history, family, and identity.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.