MGA History Professor Receives $40,000 Research Grant Awarded to American Religion Scholars

Dr. Andrew M. Manis, professor of history at Middle Georgia State University (MGA), is one of 12 recipients of a research sabbatical grant that the Louisville Institute awards annually to scholars of American religion.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2020, the Louisville Institute will provide Manis with $40,000 in support of his research and writing of planned book entitled, “Outside Agitator” Times Two: Father Sam Gouvellis and the Greek Community during Birmingham’s Civil Rights Struggle.

The Louisville Institute’s Sabbatical Grant for Researchers program enables ecclesial engaged academics and scholarly religious leaders to conduct major studies that can contribute to the vitality of Christianity in North America. Grants of up to $40,000 support year-long research projects that address Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, and/or religious institutions. 

The Louisville Institute is funded by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment and based at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville, Ky. The Institute’s fundamental mission is to enrich the religious life of North American Christians, as well as encourage the revitalization of their institutions by bringing together those who lead religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work of each might inform and strengthen the other.

Manis will spend the 2020-2021 academic year finishing the research for and writing “Outside Agitator” Times Two, the story of Fr. Soterios “Sam” Gouvellis, priest at the Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Birmingham, Ala. Manis was a member of that congregation as a boy. His priest, “Father Sam,” who was from Pennsylvania, antagonized many people in his church, as well as many segregationists in the city.

This will be Manis’s second book on the civil rights movement in Birmingham. His book A Fire You Can’t Put Out was the story of the city’s primary civil rights advocate, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, which won several book prizes, including the 2000 Lillian Smith Book Award. His book Macon Black and White, won a 2001 Georgia Writer of the Year Award in the history division and was a finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Manis will be retiring August 1, 2020, after completing 20 years of service at Middle Georgia State University.