Colloquium draws crowd, rave reviews

When the Alabama Colloquium concluded Oct. 7, rave reviews came from all points in the more than 300-member crowd in attendance at Birmingham’s The Club.

Taking center stage were the 2019 Fellows, who captivated the audience with their perspectives on the humanities and how people and events had on their lives.

They were: Marquita Davis, Ph.D., deputy director, Early Learning, Pacific Northwest for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Fred Gray, attorney and nationally recognized civil rights activist; Howell Raines, retired executive editor of the New York Times; and Jody Singer, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Moderated by NPR’s Michel Martin, the Fellows were skillfully guided through times in their lives when they encountered a metaphorical “thorn” or “rose.” From supportive mentors to discriminatory acts to uplifting teachers to inequality, they entertained, inspired and engaged in powerful, thought-provoking conversation.

As a highlight of the day, an original sculpture created by Craigger Browne was unveiled and awarded to each of the Fellows. Carved from Sylacauga marble, it symbolized the lens of a magnifying glass representing searching and discovery, wrapped in the flame of enlightenment.

Browne likened the day to realizing how similar the journey of humanities is – “It’s the passion within us to discover.”