Wednesday, January 16, 2013 – Kathryn Braund
“Creek Indian Women in Time of War”

Historians of the Creek War traditionally focus on battles and commanders and rarely, if ever, consider the impact of war on women and children. And yet the Creek civil war resulted in an invasion of a populous region which destroyed not only the lives of male warriors, but the homes and lives of women and their children. This paper will explore the impact of the war on Creek women, who lived through fierce battles, witnessed the capture and torture of family members, endured humiliating captivity, and at war’s end, were left to rebuild their homes in a devastated country.

Dr. Kathryn H. Braund—a professor at Auburn University—received an M.A. from Auburn and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. Dr. Braund’s research and writing has focused on the ethno history of the Creek and Seminole Indians in the 18th and early 19th century. She is the author of Deerskins and Duffels: The Creek Indian Trade with Anglo-America, 1685-1815; the co-author of William Bartram on the South-eastern Indians and the editor of an annotated edition of James Adair’s History of the American Indians. She has published many articles for the American Indian QuarterlyThe Alabama Review and The Journal of Southern History.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 – Adam Jortner
“The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier.”

Adam Jortner proposes that the death struggle for America’s heartland was more than just a war between whites like William Henry Harrison who wanted to expel the Indians and Tecumseh and his brother—The Prophet—who wanted to preserve the traditional Indian way and keep the whites at a distance. The Prophet who claimed the miracle of making the sun go dark at midday declared himself to be in directcontact with the Master of Life and deemed himself the supreme religious authority
for all Native Americans.
Harrison who was the governor of the Indiana Territory and future American President was relentless in
evicting Indians from the Midwest. Jortner places the religious dimension of the struggle at the forefront
declaring the climatic battle at Tippecanoe in 1811 as much a clash of gods as men.

Dr. Adam Jortner has spent the last several years studying the ways in which claims of supernatural power transformed American politics and Christianity. He has B.A. from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia where he won the Zora Neale Hurston Prize for the best paper on gender studies for his work on Ann Lee, founder of American Shakerism. He currently teaches American  History at Auburn University, and has spoken on American religion and history of the super-natural to groups in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013– John Hall
“Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See”

Longleaf forests—those grand old pines which were the “alpha tree” of the largest ecosystem in North
America—once covered 92 million acres from Texas to Maryland to Florida. The longleaf defined the
southern forest, but logging, suppression of fire and a complex web of other factors reduced this tree to
only 3 million acres. There is a resurgence of interest in the stately tree, and longleaf forests are once again spreading across the South. John Hall who helped write the narrative on the recently published book on the longleaf pine will explore the development of longleaf forests prior to human contact and the influence that the longleaf has had on southern culture.

Dr. Hall, educated at the University of Alabama, has taught science and served as the Director of Inter-pretation for the University of Alabama Museums; he is the curator of the Black Belt Museum at Livingston. Dr. Hall conducts workshops and programs throughout Alabama. He has received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award given by the Alabama Historical Commission. His most recent book is Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 – Edwin Bridges
“Reflections on Great Events in Alabama History”

Dr. Edwin Bridges, former Director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, will focus on three events which he declares important not just for Alabama but for American history. He said, “In 2013, we are observing three  sets of commemorations at the same time—the 200th anniversary of the Creek War, the 150th of the Civil War, and the 50th of major events in the Civil Rights Movement. My presentation will attempt to step back and reflect on these events as part of the great drama of Alabama history.”

As the director of ADAH, Dr. Bridges guided the study and preservation of Alabama history for thirty years. During his last years, he masterminded the “Becoming Alabama” statewide partnership to promote a better understanding of Alabama history and the significance of these three periods in the shaping of our state and nation. Bridges graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, received his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 – Doyle Johnson and Johnson Grass 
“Bluegrass Music: Tugging the Heart Strings

Bluegrass music—a form of “American Roots” music—has origins in Scottish, Irish and English music with immigrants bringing their music to Appalachia. The earliest accompaniment to Bluegrass was the fiddle with the bass, banjo, guitar and mandolin added later. Bluegrass, like jazz, has one instrument featured on the melody (taking turns as lead) with the other instruments as accompaniment producing a beautiful effect that Bluegrass pioneer, Bill Monroe, call “a high lonesome sound.”

The Johnson Grass Band, of more that 60 years duration, will play the music and sing the songs. The band consists of family patriarch, Doyle Johnson, vocalist and lead guitar; daughter, Pam Landers, on stand-up bass and vocals; grand-daughter, April Sargent, on vocals; and grandson, Drew Bivin, on mandolin. The band regularly features guest artist on banjo, fiddle and guitar.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 – Buddy Simpkins and Friends
“Let the Good Times Roll”

Once again, retired Sylacauga High School Band Director, Buddy Simpkins, has gathered a “who’s who” of musicians to join him in playing for the enjoyment of the Comer Library brown bag audience. Drawing on songs from musical history, the group will play their favorite repertoire of tunes—jazz, rhythm and blues, pop and swing, or whatever strikes their fancy—for those who wish to take the journey back to the good times.

Buddy, on drums, will be joined by the renowned jazz double bassist, Cleve Eaton, from Fairfield, Alabama. During his years as recording artist, Eaton played with all of the greats and was dubbed “the Count’s Bassist” during his seventeen year stint with the Count Basie Orchestra. Bo Berry from Birmingham will play the trumpet. The talented trumpeter played with “Jam Sessions:” on the Avenue from 1947 to 1963. During his career, he played with such greats as Wynton Marsalis and Count Basie; in 1993, Berry was elected to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Pianist, Kermit Orr, began taking piano lessons early and had long musical career playing with the Fort Benning Band for heads of state and performing with such greats as Miles Davis and Dinah Washington.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 – Chris Phillips and Friends
“Places in the Heart: The Immortal Power of Song”

Chris Phillips, a favorite with Comer Library’s brown bag audience, will explore the power of song. He is excited about this venture saying, “There is room for humor, poignancy and patriotism as we explore the question—What inspires a song? Songs stand as monuments to people, ideas, and experiences. They also memorialize places. The iconic rock band U2 sang of a place “where the streets have no name.” Nat King Cole encouraged those traveling west to “take the highway that’s the best.” Sinatra had his plans to conquer the “city that doesn’t sleep.” Certain places often stand as markers of very important life experiences, and songs about places link emotional and poetic meaning with geography in ways that allow a shared nostalgia for locations both exotic and familiar. Come join us on a sonic journey to beloved places far and wide.”

Chris is the Minister of Worship and Arts at First Methodist Church. He attended Samford
University where he pursued church music in undergraduate studies and music education as a
graduate student. His wife, Julie, is a dancer and the couple has one son, Ben.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 – Dolores Hydock
“Behind the Covers: Norman Rockwell as Storyteller”

Born in New York City in 1894, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist and he began his art classes early in life. His first commission came before his sixteenth birthday and in 1916, the 22-year old Rockwell painted his first cover for the Saturday Evening Post—a magazine that Rockwell called “the greatest show window in America.” The 1930s and 1940s were perhaps Rockwell’s most fruitful decades with his work beginning to reflect small-town American life. But Rockwell didn’t just paint pictures—every picture told a story. In this presentation, storyteller Dolores Hydock shares surprising stories from Rockwell’s life and career, and describes the creative process that Rockwell used to carefully craft his one-image stories.

Hydock, originally from Pennsylvania, is an actress and story performer whose work has been featured in a variety of concerts, festivals, and special events throughout the United States. She is a touring artist for the Alabama State Council on the Arts, a speaker with the Alabama Humanities Foundation, and a member of the Southern Order of Storytellers. Dolores lives in Birmingham, Alabama and in her spare time, teaches Cajun and zydeco dancing. She is a great favorite with the brown bag lecture audience and her entertaining and thought-provoking stories always leave them wanting more of the same!