Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 by

The New York Times recently quoted Julie Hedgepeth Williams, author of the forthcoming Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, Alabama, 1910, in their “The Caucus” political column “If Fox is Partisan, It Is Not Alone.” The article explores the role partisanship plays in the coverage of politics by the modern American media. Quoting from The Early American Press, 1690-1783—a book Williams authored with William David Sloan—the article discusses the American press in its infancy and the early beliefs held that the press was expected to be explicitly partisan.

Julie Williams is no stranger to journalism or the history of the American press. She began her career in journalism as a staff member of the Sampson Independent in Clinton, North Carolina, where she worked for seven years before returning to school to receive her M.A. in Journalism and Ph.D in Mass Communications from the University of Alabama. Williams is currently a professor of journalism at Samford University, a position she’s held since 1994. She’s also authored several books, including the aforementioned title as well as The Significance of the Printed Word in Early America: Colonists’ Thoughts on the Role of the Press and the forthcoming NewSouth title Wings of Opportunity

Available in January 2010, Wings of Opportunity chronicles Orville and Wilbur Wright’s founding in 1910 of the first civilian flight school in the United States. This flight school, based in Montgomery, Alabama, was heralded by forward-thinking Montgomerians as a way to rise above the shadow of the Civil War, and Williams relates the short life of this flight school mainly through the eyes of the Alabama press, whose reporting and sometimes misreporting “reflected the misconceptions, hopes, dreams, and fears about aviation in 1910, painting a picture of a time when flight was untested, unsteady, and unavailable to most people.”

Wings of Opportunity will be available in January 2010 from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online retailer.