Browse Road Scholars by speakers

The Road Scholars Speakers Bureau provides public presentations and lectures on a variety of humanities topics. Designed to educate and entertain, the programs are presented by Alabama’s most enlightening university and independent scholars.

Road Scholars Speakers (in alphabetical order) | Browse by subject

Anderson, Laura

Anderson LLaura Caldwell Anderson is a native of Rome, Georgia. She graduated oolrom the University of Montevallo in 1993, followed by a Master’s Degree in American Studies from The University of Alabama in 1996. She worked as Community Celebration and Documentation Coordinator for UA’s Program for Rural Services from 1996 – 2000. For two years after that, Laura researched interracial aspects of the civil rights movement in her hometown, earning a Master’s degree in History/Public History from the University of West Georgia in 2002.

Presentations by Laura Anderson:

Mother’s Day 1961: The Freedom Rides in Alabama

Contact Laura Anderson to book this presentation:

landerson@alabamahumanities.org 
(205) 558-3992

Anderson, Nancy

Anderson NA Mississippi native, Nancy Grisham Anderson completed her undergraduate degree (magna cum laude) at Millsaps College (Jackson, MS) and her graduate work in English at the University of Virginia. After teaching at Millsaps and in high schools in Germany and the United States, Anderson joined the English faculty at Auburn University at Montgomery, where she is currently an associate professor of English and director of Actions Build Community: The AUM-Taulbert Initiative (a community outreach program).

Anderson has a particular interest in Southern literature, especially that of Alabama. She has published work about Lella Warren, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Mary Ward Brown, Harper Lee, Clifton Taulbert, and Richard Marius. She has received the William J. Calvert and James Woodall awards from the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Distinguished Literary Scholarship. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Brock International Prize in Education.

Presentations by Nancy Anderson

“The Iron Finger of Love”: The Journey of Clifton Taulbert from Mississippi’s Black Belt

The World of Childhood: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Kite Runner

To Kill a Mockingbird: Successes and Myths

Contact Nancy Anderson to book this presentation:

nanderso@aum.edu

Home: (334) 269-1660

Office: (334) 244-3389

Bailey, Richard

Since returning to Montgomery, Dr. Bailey has been a consultant for the Center for Public Television at The University of Alabama, where he was a consultant for their productions on the Lincoln School of Marion and Reconstruction black officeholders. For the Division of Telecommunication and Educational Television at Auburn University, Bailey was an advisor for the Gee’s Bend story and the Horace King documentary. He was a consultant for the award-winning radio documentary, “Remembering Slavery,” produced by the Institute for Language and Culture at the University of Montevallo. In the mid-1980s, Gov. George C. Wallace appointed him twice to the De Soto Commission to reconstruct the path of the Spanish explorer through Alabama. Kiosks along select Alabama highways identify the route of De Soto.

Dr. Bailey received a joint fellowship to travel and study in Europe and African from Cleveland (Ohio) State University and the University of Massachusetts. Kansas State University awarded him the doctor of philosophy degree in American history. He speaks regularly at grade schools, colleges, and universities and has appeared on radio and television to discuss genealogy, Alabama and American history, and election returns.

Presentations by Richard Bailey:
Reconstruction in Alabama
Rock in a Weary Land: The Black Church in 19th-Century Alabama

Contact Richard Bailey to book this presentation:
scholarship111@bellsouth.net 
(334) 224-2346
alabamablackhistory.com

Berry, Donald

Donald Berry is the director of the Gulf Coast Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. The Center promotes and supports middle-school and high-school teaching of the Holocaust and genocide. Berry is recognized as a Lerner Fellow by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. His Holocaust training includes the International Seminar at Yad Vashem (2006). He has worked at the University of Mobile since 1987. His current role is Associate VP for Academic Services. Berry attended Southern Seminary in Louisville from which he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1978 and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1987.

Presentations by Donald Berry
The Life and Art of Charlotte Salomon

Contact Donald Berry to book this presentation:
donaldb@umobile.edu
(251) 442-2203

Brown, Alan

Dr. Alan Brown earned his B.A. in English at Millikin University in 1972, his M.A. in American Literature at Southern Illinois in 1974, and his Ph. D. in Rhetoric at Illinois State University in 1985. He has been teaching English at The University of West Alabama since 1986.

Dr. Brown has been a member of the Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Road Scholars Speakers’ Bureau since 1990. Since 1996, he has published a number of books on Southern ghost stories, including The Face in the Window and Other Alabama Ghostlore (1996), Shadows and Cypress (2000), Haunted Places in the American South (2002), Stories from the Haunted South (2004), Ghost Hunters of the South (2006), Ghost Hunters of New England (2008), Haunted Texas (2008), and Haunted Birmingham (2009). He has also published two literary tour guides: Literary Levees of New Orleans (1997) and Literary Landmarks of Chicago (2002).

Presentations by Alan Brown
From Tuscumbia to Broadway: The Evolution of the Miracle Worker
Mark Twain’s Private War with God
School Spirits: Ghost Stories from Alabama ‘s College Campuses

Contact Alan Brown to book this presentation:
abrown@uwa.edu
(205) 652-3521

Byrd-Giles, Bettina

Bettina Byrd-Giles is a consultant, trainer and teacher. Her experience includes intercultural communication training, university administration, leadership development and writing. She is an intercultural consultant with the Byrd’s Nest LLC . Byrd-Giles’ work as an interculturalist has been recognized on local and international levels. She was selected to co-chair the Martin Luther King Conflict Resolution Conference Malawi (Southern Africa), sponsored by the Fulbright Foundation, the University of Malawi, Miles College and Diversity University. In 2000, she was honored by the Greater Birmingham United Nations Association for the founding of Diversity University, a cross-cultural program uniting cultures from six colleges and universities, since 1995. Byrd-Giles has also worked in the development of students as an administrator and part-time instructor at two major universities–the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama.

Presentations by Bettina Byrd-Giles
The Cultural Evolution of Alabama

Cauthen, Joyce

Joyce Cauthen is the executive director of the Alabama Folklife Association, a statewide organization that sponsors research, promotion and preservation of Alabama’s folk culture. She is the author of With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow: Old-Time Fiddling in Alabama, published in 1989 by the University of Alabama Press, and has served as the producer of numerous recordings of traditional music of Alabama, including “Possum Up a Gum Stump: Home, Commercial and Field Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers.” She served as editor of Benjamin Lloyd’s Hymnbook: A Primitive Baptist Song Tradition and produced the accompanying CD. Her last project was a CD and booklet entitled Bullfrog Jumped, which features recordings made across Alabama of children’s folksongs and games in 1947. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has a master’s degree in English from Purdue University.

Presentations by Joyce Cauthen
Fiddlers, Banjo Players and Strawbeaters—Alabama’s First Pop Musicians

Please Pass the Folklore: Family and Community Traditions in the Kitchen and Around the Dinner Table

Davies, Catherine

Catherine Evans Davies is professor of linguistics in the English department at the University of Alabama. She served as president of the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics in 2003. Her articles on Southern American discourse have appeared in various collections, and in the Journal of Pragmatics. She is co-editor of “English and Ethnicity,” published by Palgrave in 2006, and is co-editor with Professor Michael Picone of the forthcoming “Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.”

Presentations by Catherine Davies
The Southern Accents of Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams

Davis, Rebekah

Rebekah DavisSince 2010, Athens native Rebekah Davis has been preserving and sharing the history of her hometown and county as the archivist at the Limestone County Archives. In addition to keeping centuries-old documents in good shape, helping people research their history, and working to keep the historic 1905 L&N Passenger Depot standing, she shares the community story online, in print, and through special exhibits and presentations. She gained a unique insight into Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys as a result of working with the papers and the family of Judge James E. Horton Jr., and with the effort to erect a monument in his honor. A University of North Alabama graduate, Rebekah has had previous careers as a journalist, co-owner of a frugal-living website, and domestic engineer.

Presentations by Rebekah Davis
Pen Strokes of Justice: Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys

Davis, Robert

Robert Scott “Bob” Davis is director of the Family and Regional History Program at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. His program pioneers local and family history research in a college environment. The American Association for State and Local History gave his program the Outstanding Leadership in History Award of Merit for 2006. Davis holds a Master of Education degree in history from North Georgia College and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has more than 1,000 publications on record, and research includes a number of books and more than 100 articles and reviews in professional historical, library, educational and archival journals. He has been quoted in or by Time, Smithsonian, CNN, NBC and the Wall Street Journal. In Alabama and Georgia, Davis has worked to raise public awareness on saving local government records and has been a member of the Alabama governor’s historical records commission. He has been the guest speaker at hundreds of meetings of civic, genealogical and historical organizations.

Presentations by Robert Davis
Writing a Local, Personal or Family History

Davis, Roderick


Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 12.05.42 PMA Guntersville native, graduate of Samford, Boston, Yale and Columbia universities, taught at Rutgers and the City University of New York’s John Jay College for twenty years before coming back in 1990 to Samford as the Dean of A&S. As dean, increased faculty by one-third, established departments of Classics, Philosophy, Political Science and Geography. Davis guided major core curriculum reform at Samford. He left administration in 2001 to return to full-time teaching until retiring in 2012. He is the winner of several teaching and administrative honors, widely published on Twentieth Century English and American literature. He received Presidential appointments to the boards of the Harry S. Truman Foundation and the Selma-to-Montgomery Historical Trail.

Davis is currently writing the first biography of Dr. John Allan Wyeth—also of Guntersville and New York—who revolutionized American medical education.

Presentation by Roderick Davis:
The Remarkable Life of Dr. John Allan Wyeth

Contact Roderick Davis to book this presentation:
jrdavis@samford.edu
205-290-0750

Fisk, Scott

Scott Fisk is a graphic designer and educator. Fisk has taught at Memphis College of Art, American Intercontinental University, and Samford University. He graduated first in his class from Memphis College of Art with an MFA in computer art and received his BFA in graphic design from Henderson State University. Fisk’s interests include web design, typography, photography, motion graphics and multimedia. Fisk has lived and worked in the United States and Britain. His work is part of permanent collections in numerous galleries and museums, including the U.S. National Archives. Fisk enjoys traveling with his wife, Timarie, who shares his peculiar interest in broadsides, ephemera and antique printing processes.

Presentations by Scott Fisk
Books: The History and Art of Letterpress Bookmaking

Fritze, Ronald

Professor Ronald Fritze was born and raised in Indiana. He earned a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University . Currently, he serves as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Athens State University in Athens. He is the author and editor of 11 books, including New Worlds: The Great Voyages of Discovery, 1400-1600 (Sutton/Praeger, 2003) and Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science, and Pseudo-Religions (Reaktion Books, 2009). Fritze appeared in the series The Conquest of America on the History Channel. Among his awards, he received the Phi Kappa Phi teaching award and was selected the eighth Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at Lamar University. He is currently vice president/president-elect of the Society for the History of Discoveries.

Presentations by Rondald Fritze
Prince Madoc and the Welsh Indians: A Persistent Frontier Myth in Alabama and Beyond
The Hernando de Soto Expedition: Exploration and Tragedy in 16th-Century Alabama and the Southeast

The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and other Ancient Hebrews on the Frontier of the Americas: A Myth of Native American Origins

Gandy, Maurice

Maurice Gandy is a teacher and writer who finds “news” in history, especially oral history. Gandy recently retired after three decades as a journalism, literature and creative writing instructor at Bishop State College in Mobile. He continues to teach American literature and technical writing as an adjunct English instructor at the University of South Alabama. In December 2007, iUniverse Publishers released Gandy’s book, The Capocalypse , a 392-page coming-of-age allegory set on the West Coast in the late 1960s. The work earned a Publisher’s Choice award from iUniverse and is currently available from Amazon.com and selected Barnes and Noble Booksellers. The Web site is www.TheCalpocalypse.com . In addition, he has been writing articles as a feature correspondent for the Press-Register newspaper in Mobile for the last 16 years. His specialty as a journalist is oral history, drawing on interviews with long-time residents, military veterans, and their descendants, to preserve stories, anecdotes and legends that would otherwise be lost. Gandy has three decades of experience as a speaker for academic conferences, civic groups and private organizations. He has been an Alabama Humanities Foundation Road Scholar Speaker since 2005. His biography is included in Who’s Who in America.

Presentations by Maurice Gandy
Famous Lost Words: Recording and Preserving Oral History

Hydock, Dolores

Dolores Hydock is an actress, speaker and storyteller. Her one-woman shows and presentations bring to life the voices and spirits of a wide range of characters from history and literature. Her work has been featured at conferences, concerts and special events throughout the United States, and her six CDs of original stories have all received awards from Storytelling World Magazine for excellence in storytelling. Hydock completed her studies in American Folklore at Yale University, and she has a Master of Arts in Story Arts/Communications from East Tennessee State University. She has taught acting and storytelling at Birmingham-Southern College and has been the Teller-in-Residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn.

Presentations by Dolores Hydock
Every Picture Tells a Story: The Storytelling of Norman Rockwell

Fools for Love: Fads and Fancies of Regency England

Footprint on the Sky: Voices from Chandler Mountain

It’s the Little Things: Five small objects that played a big role in shaping the world of the Dutch Golden Age

Literary Treason: The Writing of Bess Streeter Aldrich

Putting Down New Roots: An Immigrant Family’s Journey

Soldiers in Greasepaint: USO Camp Show Performers of World War II

Soldiers in Hoop Skirts: Nurses, Spies, and Other Fighting Women of the Civil War

Starch in Their Petticoats: True Stories of Strong Women Who Settled the West

Through the Back Door: The Music That Bridged the Bayou

Lang, Christopher

Christopher Lang graduated from the College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio with a double major in history and art. He trained in furniture conservation at the Smithsonian Institution in Suitland, Maryland, and the Conservation Laboratory of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in Williamsburg, Virginia. While at Colonial Williamsburg, he worked for several years at the Anthony Hay Shop as a cabinetmaker and historical interpreter. For 11 years, Lang was the Master Cabinetmaker at the Walker Allen Cabinet Shop at Alabama Constitution Village in Huntsville. He provided historical interpretation and demonstration of the early 19th-century customs and crafts. Lang also served as the Curator of Collections and Exhibits of the EarlyWorks Museums in Huntsville. Included among his projects was a special exhibit and lecture series on Alabama-made furniture at the Humphreys-Rodgers House. Today, Lang builds on his woodworking experience of over two decades and specializes in the restoration and conservation of antique furniture. At the same time, he continues his study of local historical furniture and early craftsmanship. His articles have appeared in Magazine Antiques, Alabama Heritage and Chronicle of the Early American Industries.

Presentations by Christopher Lang
Antique Alabama Furniture

Furniture For Food

How Was that Made in the Cabinetmaking Trade? The Story of Noah Wood

Mebane, John

John Mebane, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Originally a specialist in Renaissance literature and culture, for the past 20 years he has also pursued interdisciplinary studies in religion and warfare, especially the conflicts among pagan heroic ideals and Christian ideas concerning pacifism and principles of justice in warfare. His interest in this topic stems in part from his experience in combat in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1969-70. He has published two books and a number of articles on Renaissance literature and culture, including a study entitled “’Impious War’: Religion and the Ideology of Warfare in [Shakespeare’s] Henry V.” He is currently expanding his research into the history of principles of justice in warfare in the West in recent history. Mebane holds a bachelor’s degree from Presbyterian College and a Ph. D. from Emory University.

Presentations by John Mebane
Christianity, Pacifism and Principles of Justice in Warfare

Metress, Christopher

Chris Metress is University Professor at Samford University. After receiving his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in 1990, he taught at Wake Forest University in North Carolina for three years before coming to Birmingham in 1993. His special interests include Southern literature and history, and his work on Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird is part of a larger study of white southern writers and the civil rights movement. His 2002 anthology The Lynching of Emmett Till: A Documentary Narrative was published by the University of Virginia Press and was featured in new stories in the Washington Post , the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and The Nation magazine, as well as on ABC World News Tonight . He has lectured widely on Southern literature and history, including talks at the University of Alabama, New York University, the University of Connecticut and Wolfson College, Oxford.

Presentations by Christopher Metress
The Rise and Fall of Atticus Finch

Nobles, Donald

Despite being accidentally born in Santa Barbara, California, Donald Nobles is a life-long Alabamian, remaining an Alabamian even when living elsewhere. He was educated at the University of Alabama, where he received the A.B. and M.A. degrees; he is ABD from the University of Texas at Austin. Educated in literature and classical rhetoric, he finds the same questions of interest in the modern world, particularly those involving what we say and how we say it. A professor at Auburn University Montgomery, Nobles is the author of a number of papers and other publications, including William Christenberry’s Black Belt and is working on a book about the work of Mark Doty.

Presentations by Donald Nobles
Telling Stories in Two and Three Dimensions: William Christenberry’s Visual Arts as Storytelling

When “I” Becomes “Eye”: Seeing More than the Obvious in the Work of Mark Doty

Olliff, Marty

Olliff received his Ph.D. in U.S. history from Auburn University in 1998. He served as assistant university archivist at Auburn from 1996 until 2002 when he became the founding director of the Archives of Wiregrass History and Culture and a member of the history department at Troy University, Dothan Campus. Although he has published numerous articles concerning American chefs, his principal research interests are in Progressive Era Alabama. He is the editor of The Great War in the Heart of Dixie: Alabama in World War I, published by the University of Alabama Press in 2008. His most recent work concerns the Good Roads Movement in Alabama during the first two decades of the 20th century.

Presentations by Marty Olliff
The Art of War: Posters, Photographs and Postcards of World War I

The Great War in the Heart of Dixie: Alabama in World War I

Pagani, Catherine

Catherine Pagani is a professor of Asian art history in the Department of Art at the University of Alabama, where she also serves as chair of the department. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto and has worked at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and the National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan. Pagani has published and lectured widely on the arts of Asia, including rural Chinese embroidered textiles, China’s first emperor, cross-cultural influences in the arts and sciences between China and Europe, and Japanese woodblock prints. In addition to three books, her work has appeared in journals that include Arts of Asia, Apollo, Burlington Magazine and Arts Asiatiques. Her book, “Eastern Magnificence and European Ingenuity”: Clocks of Late Imperial China, is the result of research conducted at the Palace Museum, Beijing, where she was the first Westerner given research access to the large collection of 18th-century elaborate clockwork. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys knitting, beadwork, running, cycling and coaching marathoners.

Presentations by Catherine Pagani
Luck, Wealth, Longevity and Happiness: Symbolism in Chinese Art

The Way of Tea: Zen Art and Aesthetics

Robb, Frances

Frances Robb is a museum consultant and photograph historian who works on research and exhibition projects across the state. For the past 20 years, she has served as exhibition curator and humanities advisor to many museums and institutions. Robb has presented scores of public programs on historic and family photographs, and on Alabama’s people and lifeways. She taught humanities and art history at Texas Christian University, the University of North Texas and at the University of the South, Sewannee. She holds a master’s degree in English literature from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in art history from Yale University. She recently completed a book on the history of photography in Alabama, 1839-1941, and a checklist of Alabama photographers–both are now under review by the University of Alabama Press.

Presentations by Frances Robb
Spare Time, Leisure and Recreation in Alabama, 1890-1950

Talking about Tallulah

The Great Depression in Alabama Photographs

Schaefer, Robert

Robert Schaefer, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Political Science Department at the University of West Georgia. He teaches classes on American government, ancient political theory, American political parties, and state and local politics. His areas of interest also include state constitutions and Shakespeare. He is co-editor of American Political Rhetoric —a reader in American politics. While living in Alabama for almost two decades, Schaefer was very involved in a number of civic activities. He was technical advisor for Gov. Bob Riley’s Alabama Citizens’ Constitution Commission, president of the Society Mobile-La Habana, and Transition Team Associate Manager for Mobile Mayor Samuel Jones.

Presentations by Robert Schaefer
Extremists for the Cause of Justice: Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Scrivner, Joseph

Joseph Scrivner co-authored A Handbook to a Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Abingdon), a supplemental volume to the Hebrew textbook by C.L. Seow. He has also written brief articles for Teaching the Bible (Eerdmans), The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon), The Peoples’ Bible (Fortress), and the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (de Gruyter). Scrivner’s research and teaching interests include Israelite wisdom literature, the relationship between social location and interpretation, and the interplay between a rigorous literary-historical analysis of the Bible and contemporary religious beliefs. He is an ordained minister who preaches and teaches occasionally at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, where he is a member, as well as in other churches in the area. Scrivner received the B.A. from Crichton College, an M.A. from Reformed Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Presentations by Joseph Scrivner
The Ethics of Biblical Interpretation for Modern Faith Communities

Simpkins, Daphne

In the beginning of her career, Daphne wrote a biography for children:  Nat King Cole: An Unforgettable Life of Music and later a memoir about caregiving, The Long Good Night.  A follow up to this caregiving theme is her recent book called What Al Left Behind.  Other titles include Mildred Budge in Cloverdale, Mildred Budge in Embankment, Miss Budge in Love, A Cookbook for Katie, and most recently Christmas in Fountain City.   All titles are available on Amazon.

 In addition to books, Daphne has written over two hundred articles, essays, and short stories which have been published in the United States and Canada in periodicals including The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Tropic Magazine, The Christian Century, the Christian Courier, Esprit, and many others.   Her present topics with the Alabama Humanities Foundation are:  W.C. Handy and Friends, Will Rogers: An American Original, Alabama’s Own Nat King Cole, and Olympia Brown, Preacher and Suffragist.  She may be contacted at DaphneSimpkins@gmail.com

Presentations by Daphne Simpkins
Alabama’s Own Nat King Cole

Olympia Brown: Preacher and Suffragist

WC Handy & Friends

Will Rogers: An American Original—Stand-up Comic and Political Commentator

Suhor, Charles

Charles Suhor, Ph.D., has been a student of spiritual traditions for over five decades. In recent years, he has been active as speaker, writer and leader of small group interfaith sessions for educators and general audiences, discussing nonsectarian aspects of Buddhism that are finding a place in our diverse society. Suhor taught English and social studies in public schools and was deputy director of the National Council of Teachers of English before retiring to Montgomery in 1997. His wide-ranging scholarship includes literature and composition textbooks, a jazz history and educational recordings and books for teachers. Among the latter is Teaching Values in the Literature Program, a genial debate in print co-authored with his brother Ben, who was a career Catholic school teacher. His articles have appeared in Buddhadharma, Education Week, Educational Leadership, Mindfulness Bell, Religion and Public Education, The Sun, Teaching Tolerance, and others.

Presentations by Charles Suhor
The Americanization of Buddhism—Freedom of Thought, Openness to Discovery

Thompson, Kathleen

Thompson KKathleen Thompson holds a B.S. from the University of Alabama and an MFA in Writing from Spalding University in fiction/poetry. A former teacher of high school English, she has an online editing business, Writing-excellence.com. She is a Consulting Poetry Editor for Writing-excellence.com. She has published three books of poetry: Searching for Ambergris, Pudding House Publications; The Nights, The Days, Negative Capability Press; and The Shortest Distance, Coosa River Books. Her body of prose includes two novels in manuscript form and two collections of short stories. Excalibur Press nominated her short story in the anthology Christmas is a Season! 2009 for a Pushcart Prize. Her current writing project is a memoir—the result of her interest in blogging, her return to a passion for the personal essay, and a CNF workshop with Spalding in which she participated as a post grad in Paris, 2012. See wordspinningbykathleen.blogspot.com.

Presentations by Kathleen Thompson:
Blogging: The New Personal Essay

Nine Bean Rows: Planting “the Divine Detail” in a Poem 

Contact Kathleen Thompson to book this presentation:
kat42thompson@gmail.com
(205) 981-0911
Website: www.wordforwordforword.com

Utz, Karen

Karen Utz has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and marketing from Central Missouri State University, and a master’s degree in history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is the curator of Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, and in this capacity, her main objectives center on collections management, research, writing and speaking engagements. She is also very involved in expanding the oral history project at Sloss, and in the ongoing efforts to restore the site. In addition to her work at Sloss, Utz is an instructor at UAB, where she teaches courses pertaining to critical thinking, early and modern American history, as well as courses dealing with Southern industrial history and American history during the 1960s.

Presentations by Karen Utz
Music of the Mines, Mills, and Railroads of the Birmingham District

Sloss Furnaces: The Industrial Evolution of Birmingham’s Iron Plantation

The Role of Convict Labor in the Industrial Development of Birmingham

Ward, Tom

Tom Ward, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Spring Hill College where he teaches American history. A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Ward received his education at Hampden-Sydney College (B.A.), Clemson University (M.A.), and the University of Southern Mississippi (Ph.D.). Before coming to Spring Hill College in 2007, Ward taught at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. He held previous teaching positions at the Alabama School of Math and Science, and at University College Cork, in Ireland. Ward has written a number of articles on African-American history and the history of medicine, and is the author of Black Physicians in the Jim Crow South (2003). He was the project historian for the award-winning public radio series, Mississippi Voices, A Trip Through the Twentieth Century and is currently doing research for a book on African-American prisoners of war. He lives in Spanish Fort with his wife and three sons.

Presentations by Tom Ward
To Treat and to Train: Tuskegee’s John A. Andrew Clinic

Smith Waters, Mollie

Waters M.

Mollie Smith Waters is a professor of composition, literature, theater, and speech at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Greenville. Waters writes for various publications including Bookkaholic, Southern Literary Review, The Camellia Magazine, Encyclopedia of Alabama, and Alabama Heritage. Waters is a past-participant of several National Endowment for the Humanities summer programs, including seminars on the American Lyceum, the Pilgrims & Wampanoag Indians, and the Transcendentalists. In 2008 she was a Group Study Exchange Team Member to Brazil. In 2013, she directed her first play, Crimes of the Heart, and she helped to create the Greenville Community Theatre. Waters has been a teacher for fifteen years. During her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and walking. She is married to Ronald Waters, and she has a son, Reagan, and a step-daughter, Katelin.

Presentation by Mollie Smith Waters:

Contact Mollie Smith Waters to book this presentation:
334-437-2112
mollie.smith.waters@hotmail.com

Webb, Susan

Susan Webb, early American school historian, has become America’s Traveling Schoolmarm. Having lived in areas of the country steeped in the history of country schooling, Susan has developed a passion for the study of American education. Her 20 years as a classroom teacher, her background in theatrical presentation, and over a decade of early-American education research prompted her to develop her entertaining and unique, yet informative, programs. These ventures have transported her to libraries, universities, conference sites, historical societies and museums across the United States. From these journeys she has collected a small library of antique schoolbooks and an array of historical school artifacts. Susan has set foot in countless historically restored country schools throughout the country to engage audiences in school reenactments, utilizing her book Country School Copybook and other publications she has written: Ready for Reenactment?, School Days Lessons, Masterful McGuffey, and My One-Room School Copybook.

Presentations by Susan Webb
Thank you, Mr. Rosenwald: A Chapter from the History of Alabama Education and African-American Education in the South

Bliss Wright, Sarah


Wright S.Alabama native Sarah Bliss Wright spent thirty years in performing arts before quilts captured her attention. Though she grew up surrounded by quilts, it was not until 2006 that the idea of turning her talents to textile art was born. A crazy quilt that she made from her late father’s silk neckties ignited a desire to add quilting to her creative pursuits. Serious study of quilt history began after a serendipitous meeting of fellow Alabamian Mary Elizabeth Johnson Huff, well-known author of numerous quilt books.

Ms. Wright holds a BA in Psychology from Samford University (Birmingham, AL) and studied at the University of Exeter, England as a Rotary International Fellow. She is curator for “Our Quilted Past,” an exhibit of Alabama feedsack quilts and Bemis Bro. Bag Company, and her research on the subject is published in Uncoverings 2013. A member of the American Quilt Study Group, Sarah lives in Mobile.

Presentation by Sarah Bliss Wright
Alabama Cotton and Bemis Bags, Pieced into Quilt History

The Mt. Ida Quilt Project:  One Community, Two Quilts, Three Centuries

Contact Sarah Bliss Wright to book this presentation:
251-689-8124 (cell)
251-660-1899 (home)
SarahBlissWright@gmail.com