Archive for November, 2011

Remembering Alabama education pioneer Dr. Ethel Hall

Monday, November 21st, 2011 by Brian Seidman

Dr. Ethel Hall, the first African American woman elected to the Alabama State Board of Education, died this month at age 83. Hall had recounted both her two decades on the Board of Education and her early struggle to achieve higher education in her memoir My Journey, published earlier this year by NewSouth Books.

In a review of My Journey, First Draft‘s Linda McQueen called Dr. Hall “the epitome of a true role model for all generations. [Her memoir] is filled with memorable narratives of faith and hope. It is an inspiration to readers facing adversities and finding joy and success in achieving their goals.”

In her memoir, Dr. Hall discussed her experiences with prejudice and discrimination, while at the same time emphasizing her family’s love that helped her pursue education despite her family’s poverty; Hall left her parents’ farm at a young age live with her grandparents in order to be closer to school. She later graduated from Alabama A&M College, received masters and doctoral degrees, and taught high school and college before her election to the state board. Among issues she dealt with were strengthening academic requirements for grade school education and maintaining education standards despite budget cuts.

Dr. Hall wrote, “I carefully and consciously prepared for a challenging, demanding career in education because I believe learning is a lifelong process that impacts every individual. My experiences have affirmed my belief in a greater need for advocacy for those who are least able to make the changes needed in our social system.”

Read more about Dr. Ethel Hall from the Birmingham News.

My Journey: A Memoir of the First African American to Preside Over the Alabama Board of Education by Dr. Ethel Hall is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite bookseller.

Publishers Weekly notes NewSouth’s Grizzard print and ebook re-release

Monday, November 14th, 2011 by Brian Seidman

Elvis is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good MyselfAfter years spent published by New York houses, the distinctly Southern flavor of humorist Lewis Grizzard’s books has come home to the South. In the article “NewSouth Reissues Southern Humorist’s Oeuvre,” Publishers Weekly‘s Marc Schultz spotlights the unique connection between Grizzard and NewSouth, which has joined with the Grizzard estate to bring all the writer’s books back to print.

Despite Lewis Grizzard’s status as a perennial bestseller, many of his books had been out of print for decades. As the Publishers Weekly article relates, Grizzard’s widow Dedra had promised Grizzard she’d “keep his work alive,” but had yet to find the right publisher. A friend directed her to NewSouth Books.

“I spent a lot of time looking for publishers,” Dedra told Publishers Weekly. “They either did not get Lewis, his works, or Southern heritage and traditions, or they were too small to market it, or they wanted to hold the rights.” After she spoke with NewSouth, Dedra said, “I literally felt at home. I had found what I was looking for: they published good books with a dedicated staff committed to excellence.” NewSouth publisher Suzanne La Rosa explained that “we were immediately interested because [Grizzard’s voice] is a unique expression of a particular aspect of southern culture, and his popularity is clearly ongoing.”

NewSouth’s bringing something new to the deal, too. In addition to returning to print Grizzard’s They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat and Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself (with If I Ever Get Back to Georgia and Daddy Was a Pistol and I’m a Son of a Gun coming next), NewSouth is also releasing these titles for the first time as ebooks. The books are available in all the major ebook formats, often before the print books are available, as part of NewSouth’s commitment to make all of our titles available to the widest audience possible and across all reading platforms. Already the Grizzard ebooks are some of our bestselling digital titles.

Dedra recalled that when Grizzard “worked with his New York publishers and he faced countless nightmares. But [La Rosa] gets it! I really could not be happier.”

Read the full article at the Publishers Weekly website, and learn more about Lewis Grizzard’s works at the official website,, or at the official Lewis Grizzard Facebook Page.

They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat and Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself are available in print and ebook formats from NewSouth Books or your favorite book or ebook retailer.