Archive for August, 2015

Steve Flowers’s new book, Of Goats & Governors, finds enthusiastic reception by political and business leaders

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 by Lisa Harrison

Of Goats & Governors by Steve FlowersTalking politics is a favorite Alabama pastime. At long last, a generation’s worth of tales “you couldn’t make up if you tried” has been collected and delightfully recounted by Alabama’s leading political commentator, Steve Flowers.

Of Goats & Governors: Six Decades of Colorful Alabama Political Stories, just published by NewSouth Books, is off to a stellar launch with Governor Robert Bentley among its first readers. Steve Flowers is being featured in newspapers and radio and television interviews as he travels to book events across the state, where he share stories from his rich collection of tall tales and small tales about famous and lesser known Alabama politicians of the twentieth century, including the likes of Howell Heflin, Big Jim Folsom, and others. There is nobody better to relate this history than Flowers.

Alabama governor Robert Bentley enjoys Steve Flowers's new book Of Goats & Governors

Alabama governor Robert Bentley enjoys
Steve Flowers’s new book Of Goats & Governors

The Troy Messenger recently profiled Flowers on the occasion of the book’s publication. Flowers told the paper, “Few states have as fascinating a political history as Alabama. I was fortunate to have rubbed elbows with some of the most interesting figures in 20th-century American government and politics.” The article recounts Flowers’s career in Alabama politics from legislature page through representative through his current occupation as the state’s leading political commentator. Flowers’s book talks have been featured in papers including the Cullman Times, Trussville Tribune, and the Daily Mountain Eagle.

Flowers launched the Of Goats & Governors book tour in Cullman with a visit to the Cullman Times, a talk to regional realtors, and a signing at Deb’s Bookstore. Flowers stopped at the Haleyville Library next and went on to Jasper with a visit to the Daily Mountain Eagle and a presentation at the Walker County Republican annual summer meeting. Through the fall, Flowers will present at over 40 other venues including the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery (October 6) — Governor Robert Bentley will attend the reception — the Birmingham Library (October 22), and the Auburn University Library and East Alabama Museum in Opelika (November 12).

Of Goats & Governors is available from NewSouth Books or your favorite bookstore.

National Trust for Historic Preservation names Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee to its End of Summer Reads list

Friday, August 21st, 2015 by Lisa Harrison

Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee by Ellen WeissThe National Trust for Historic Preservation named Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee: An African-American Architect Designs for Booker T. Washington, by Dr. Ellen Weiss, to its “End of Summer Reads for the Preservation Buff” list on their PreservationNation blog. The blog recommends the book for “those who like their history with a heaping helping of social context.” The list of 14 titles includes classics as well as recently published works. Inclusion as a favorite by the National Trust is an honor for Dr. Weiss.

Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee interweaves the life of the first academically trained African American architect with his life’s work — the campus of Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. In this richly illustrated architectural history, the author delves into such questions of how a black boy born in North Carolina shortly after the Civil War could earn a professional architecture degree at MIT, and how he then used his design and administrative skills to further Booker T. Washington’s agenda of community solidarity and, in defiance of strengthening Jim Crow, the public expression of racial pride and progress. The book also considers such issues as architectural education for African Americans at the turn of the twentieth century, the white donors who funded Tuskegee’s buildings, other Tuskegee architects, and Taylor’s buildings elsewhere.

Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee is available from NewSouth Books, or from your favorite bookstore.

Remembering Julian Bond

Monday, August 17th, 2015 by Brian Seidman

NewSouth Books mourns the untimely loss of our friend and noted civil rights leader Julian Bond, who died over the weekend at age 75. Bond was one of the organizers of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), President Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center, national chairman of the NAACP, a longtime Georgia state senator, a founder of the Institute for Southern Studies, a distinguished professor of history, and an internationally known lecturer, writer, and commentator. Bond wrote forewords and commentary for several NewSouth titles, including the autobiography of fellow SNCC member Bob Zellner, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek.

Bond is pictured in March 2015 with NewSouth editor-in-chief Randall Williams (left) and Will Campbell, an attorney from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, during a bus tour Williams was narrating of civil rights sites in Montgomery and Lowndes County. This was part of a civil rights study tour that Bond and his wife, Pamela Horowitz, hosted for the University of Virginia each spring. Horowitz, Williams, and Campbell were staffers at the Southern Poverty Law Center in the 1970s, while Bond was SPLC president.

“Julian was unusual among civil rights leaders in that he was an intellectual first and an activist second, more inclined to analysis than agitation, and more comfortable influencing opinion than making news, though he did plenty of the latter, too,” said Williams. “He never wavered from his principled stands. He was steadfastly against war, injustice, and poverty, and passionately for peace, human dignity, and equality of opportunity. And even though he was an accomplished historian, he paid close attention to popular culture, and he was always the best-informed, smartest, and funniest person in the room. He left us far too soon, and we will miss him more than we realize even in our grief of the moment.”

Randall Williams, Julian Bond, and Will Campbell, on a civil rights study tour for the University of Virginia