New marker to honor Carl Elliott in Vina

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VINA - In his autobiography, "The Cost of Courage," Carl Elliott recalled the many political speeches he attended in the small town of Vina.

"With no television and hardly any radios to speak of in those days, and with newspapers spread nowhere near as far and wide as they are today, political candidates had to come to the people to get their votes. Anywhere a train stopped, that's where the candidates would step off and make a speech. And the train stopped in Vina," wrote Elliott, who served eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and spearheaded landmark legislation such as the Library Services Act and National Defense Education Act.

On Sunday, a historical marker honoring Elliott will be unveiled in his hometown of Vina. 

The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. at the Vina Community Center. Speakers will include state Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, who represents Franklin County in the Alabama Legislature and advocated for the placement of the historical marker; former Elliott aides Mary Jolley and Julian Butler and Elliott's grandson, Carl Elliott III.

After the ceremony, attendees are invited to visit the Red Bay Museum, which has a display on Elliott.

“Franklin County is fortunate to claim many native sons and daughters that have been successful in their chosen professions," said Cassie Medley, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. "Congressman Elliott is one such individual who never forgot his community and county, helping numerous individuals at home and throughout our nation.  By erecting this marker in his hometown, it serves as an important reminder to individuals living in the present and future of the many notable accomplishments Congressman Elliott made.”

Elliott's daughter, Lenora Cannon, said she hopes the new marker will serve as an inspiration to the people of Vina, which has a population of slightly over 350.

"Hopefully it will inspire someone to go to college and know that you can come from a small town like Vina and do something that touches the country," Cannon said.

In "Cost of Courage," Elliott recounted confessing his political aspirations to Congressman William B. Bankhead and receiving the elder man's encouragement when Bankhead stopped in Vina in 1922.

After graduating from the University of Alabama, Elliott relocated to Bankhead's hometown of Jasper and adopted it as his own.

Elliott lived in Jasper until his death in 1999.

Jasper has its own historical marker honoring Elliott located outside the Carl Elliott House Museum on Birmingham Avenue.