Approaching 25th season of Read Alabama! named among Alabama Bicentennial events

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 1/31/18

Read Alabama!: The Tradition Continues is celebrating its 25th season with four historical authors sharing their works in February and March.

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Approaching 25th season of Read Alabama! named among Alabama Bicentennial events


Read Alabama!: The Tradition Continues is celebrating its 25th season with four historical authors sharing their works in February and March.

This year’s authors were chosen by the Alabama Bicentennial Committee, and the 25th season of Read Alabama has been designated as an Alabama 200 event to highlight the state’s history in celebration of its 200th birthday.

Jay Lamar, the executive director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, said she is happy to have a group of authors together for Read Alabama that will share their own unique tellings of Alabama history.

“The speakers this year will focus on our people, places and stories, which is also what we want the bicentennial to be about,” Lamar said. “Of course, it is especially wonderful to be partnering this year, when Read Alabama celebrates its 25th anniversary. It has played a vital role in the culture and community of Jasper and Walker County, and we are humbled and honored to be able to celebrate together.”

The 25th season of Read Alabama will begin with graphic designer Laura Murray on Feb. 6, as she shares her first historical coloring book, “Amazing Alabama: A Coloring Book Journey Through Our 67 Counties.”

The coloring book features historical landmarks from all Alabama counties, and it is suitable for adults and children roughly 9 and up.

Murray lives in Auburn, and she will be featured in Sunday’s edition of the Daily Mountain Eagle.

Two weeks later on Feb. 20, historian John Sledge will share his book at Read Alabama, “These Rugged Days: Alabama in the Civil War.”

Through a series of records, newspapers, memoirs, photographs and more, Sledge tells of Alabama’s experience during the war. Sledge has also authored “Cities of Silence: A Guide to Mobile’s Historic Cemeteries and The Mobile River.”

Sledge lives in Fairhope, Ala., and works as a senior architectural historian for the Mobile Historic Development Commission.

Ed Bridges will be the third visiting author to Read Alabama on March 6, to share his book, “Alabama: The Making of an American State.”

Bridges’ book uses maps, artifacts, art, archival photographs and other illustrations to tell Alabama’s history. Many items illustrated in the book have never been published before.

Since retiring as director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Bridges has been volunteering with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.

Poet Jeanie Thompson will conclude the 2018 season of Read Alabama on March 20, with her book, “The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller.”

The book features 34 poems written in the voice of Keller, based on Keller’s life with a disability and her many travels and experiences. “The Myth of Water” also has excerpts from Keller’s own writing.

Thompson has authored numerous books of poetry, and she is a teacher at Spalding University. She’s also the founding director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum.

Admission to Read Alabama is free. Refreshments will begin for each session at 3:30 p.m., followed by the main program at 4 p.m. All sessions will be held on the Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Jasper campus in Mathews Lecture Hall of the Wade Math and Science Building.

“Bevill State Community College is proud to be a part of Read Alabama, especially during this 25th anniversary and the Alabama Bicentennial,” BSCC Director of Public Relations Tana Collins said. “The program is always a wonderful resource and opportunity for the community.”

A variety of postcards from the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County that feature various county landmarks will be presented at each Read Alabama session, and visitors of the last session on March 20, will also receive a county coloring book from the Chamber. Those who attend all sessions will receive all of the postcards and the coloring book.

The postcards will feature historical locations such as Lewis Smith Lake, the Alabama Mining Museum and First United Methodist Church.

Walker College Foundation Executive Director Holly Trawick said she hopes to see many people attend this year’s Read Alabama sessions, which give everyone an opportunity to learn more about the state of Alabama.

“I’m so excited to celebrate the 25th season of Read Alabama and to tie it in to Alabama’s 200th anniversary,” Trawick said. “We have some very unique authors who have fascinating takes on Alabama history.”

Read Alabama 2018 is hosted by BSCC and made possible through support from the Walker College Foundation, Alabama Power Company, The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, Jasper Main Street, Walker County Arts Alliance, The Literacy Council of Walker County and the Alabama Bicentennial Committee.

Each author will sign books before and after each program, and books will be available for purchase.