Wednesday, January 18, 2012-Jerry E. Brown:
“Alabama’s Mitcham Wars”

n the 1890s, a bloody episode in Clarke County left 10 people dead!  The tensions between backcountry farmers who borrowed money to put in their cotton crops and merchant-lenders who took advantage of the crop-lien system erupted into “the Mitcham War.”  The conflict—a gang of local ruffians pitted against a mob of equally lawless vigilantes— has never been written about before by anyone so
 close as Jerry Elijah Brown and never from the victim’s point of view.  Brown, the youngest of 14 children raised on a farm in Clarke County, found out that his paternal grandfather, Lee Brown, had been arrested, jailed and tried for murder after his beloved Papa had been dead for forty years.  Harper Lee calls the book “the best to come out of Alabama since To Kill a Mockingbird” and Rheta Grimsley Johnson said, “It’s the lovely language of this book that I’ll remember longest.”
Jerry Brown earned a B.A. in journalism from Auburn University; an M. A. in creative writing from Hollins College; a Ph. D. in English from Vanderbilt University in 1974; and completed postdoctoral studies of American autobiography at Dartmouth College.  Brown has a critical biography of Roy Blount, Jr. to his credit as well as the co-authorship of the award- winning book, The Federal Road through Georgia, the Creek Nation and Alabama.  Brown—on faculty for twenty years at Auburn University—spent seven of those as head of the School of Journalism.  In 1999, Brown went to the University of Montana as dean of the School of Journalism.  He is now retired and lives in North Carolina.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 – Phil Koerper:
“Humor at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: The Wit and Wisdom of Our Presidents”

The undying interest of the American people in Presidential humor and political humor in general prompted Phil Koerper to do in-depth study of its sources.  He has collected political cartoons, pictures, editorials, comedian’s lines, and memorabilia—a treasure
 trove of information on all of the presidents.  His Elderhostel and Interhostel programs have entertained audiences with stories ranging from President Washington to the present day President Obama.    Focusing on presidents from different eras of American history, he will show how the chronicle of  political humor has changed through the decades particularly with the advent of the media with video cameras capturing their off the cuff remarks, odd habits, mistaken choices of words, mannerisms and speech inflections.
Dr. Koerper is no stranger to Comer Library’s brown bag lectures.  He has delighted audiences with stories of Winston Churchill several times, and he loves presidential humor ‘almost as much as Sir Winston.’  Koerper has taught at Jacksonville State University since 1969; has a Ph. D. from the University of Georgia; and has studied Modern Britain, the Age of Churchill and English History.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 – Ed Bridges:
“America’s Guest: LaFayette’s Tour of Alabama”

Dr. Edwin Bridges—Director of the Alabama Department of Archives & History—describes the Marquis De Lafayette’s tour 
of Alabama as “an unprecedented spectacle!”  He said, “LaFayette’s triumphal return visit to the United States, forty years after the end of the American Revolution, became the stuff of legends; he continues to be America’s great friend in France.  The celebration was probably the longest, most enthusiastic and grandest celebration in American history.  Hardened men were overcome with emotion.  People traveled for days to join the spectacle.  The State of Alabama depleted its treasury.” Dr. Bridges grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia.  He graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, received his M. and Ph. D. in history from the University of Chicago.  He taught history at Georgia Tech before joining the staff of the Georgia Department of Archives and History in 1976 where he served as assistant director for 6 years. He came to the AL Dept. of Archives and History in 1982 as the fifth director in more than 100 years!  Bridges is active in national and state archival and historical organizations.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 – James T. Griffin:
“Alabama’s Southern Museum of Flight: An Archive of Winged History”

The Southern Museum of Flight—an aviation museum located near the Birmingham’s Shuttlesworth International Airport— features 
a collection of aviation artifacts spanning the 20th century in the various areas of aviation. It explores eight decades of winged history with both military and civilian aircraft and is one of the largest civilian aircraft museums in the southeast.   Artifacts in the museum include the Red Baron, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Flying Tigers, as well as notable female pilots including America Earhart and numerous aviation pioneers.  The museum hosts the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame with a repository of historical documents concerning aviation as well as plaques of the honorees exhibited on the upper level of the museum.
Dr. James (Jim) Griffin—who has directed the Southern Museum of Flight for six years—will use photographs and lecture to bring the story of this unique collection of artifacts.  Aviation has been an important part of his life for many years.   He completed the United States Air Force Museum School and Orientation Course in Dayton, Ohio.  He holds commercial fixed wing, commercial helicopter and commercial gyroplane ratings.  He has built, restored and flown a number of experimental and classic aircraft.  He has a B.S. from the University of Montevallo; an M.D. from UAB; and a Ph. D. from the University of Alabama. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 – Chris Carden:
“A History of Sylacauga’s Thin Blue Line.”

Sylacauga’s Police Department has a colorful historyfilled with memorable officers, exciting events, and heroic moments.   Interim Police Chief—Chris Carden—will sharefindings from many hours spent ferreting out the 
threads of the SPD history.  Using photographs, memorabilia and greatstories, he will chronicle almost one hundred years of service from a group ofofficers who were dedicated to the ‘thin blue line’ concept of separating
society from anarchy.  The program willbe entertaining as well as educational with anecdotes that range from shoot outsat the local train station to bank robbers armed with potatoes carved into pistols.
Carden’s family has a rich history with the SylacaugaPolice Department.    His grandfather, Hubert “Babe” Carden, waswith the SPD in the early 1930’s and his father, Butch Carden, retired from theSPD after a career of running emergency communications for the city.   Interim Chief Carden began his lawenforcement career in 1989 with the United States Army MilitaryPolice.  He served in first Gulf War and did his first civilian law enforcement stint with the Talladega CountySherriff’s Department.  He came to theSylacauga Police Department in 1994, attended the NortheastAlabama PoliceAcademy at JacksonvilleState Universityand is a graduate of the FBINational Academy.  He has worked nearly every post within thedepartment.  He is active in local andstate professional organizations related to his work.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 – Chris Phillips:
“Hear the People Sing: Voices & Melodies…….Peaks & Valleys”

Using songs from Broadway musicals, movie soundtracks and other venues, Chris Phillips will talk about and 
illustrate the power of song.  Chris commented, “When efforts are made to weave words and melody together, the resulting material might be compared to emotional dynamite—a powerful substance capable of strong, penetrating impact. Victor Hugo is credited with having said: “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Chris and special guests will explore and sing their way through musical moments that traverse the width and depth of our human experience. Perhaps you will be inspired. Perhaps you will remember the past with greater clarity or envision the future with greater purpose.
Chris is the Minister of Worship & Arts at First United Methodist Church.  He attended Samford University where he pursued church music in undergraduate studies and music education as a graduate student. 

 February 29, 2012 – Harry Reeder, III:
“Lee and Leadership”

RobertE. Lee’s leadership ability and his controversial decision to remain true tohis beloved
Commonwealth of 
Virginia rather thanaccepting President Lincoln’s offer of the command of the Union Army has beenthe subject of much historical study.  Hecame to be known as a brilliant strategist— “the wily Grey Fox”— admired forhis ability to defy the odds and learn from his mistakes while retaining hissense of civility, integrity and dignity. He earned the adoration of the South, the admiration of the North andeventually the regard of the Western World. Many modern day scholars regard his life as a model for anyone who seeksto shoulder the responsibility of leading others.
Dr.Harry Reeder serves as senior pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church.  Reeder is a graduate of Covenant College,with a degree in history and Bible. He holds a master of Divinity degree from Westminster Seminary anda Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary.  Reeder is knowledgeable about Robert E. Leeand passionate about addressing the issue of leadership.

March 7, 2012 – Dolores Hydock:
“Novel Destinations: Stories of Side Trips and Speed Bumps”

Come for a ride of the imagination through another place and another time with stories of wanderlust 

and the wide-open road. In one story, two women find a startling surprise hidden in the hills of Rome.
In another, travelers share secrets on a Spanish train. The final story takes a curious route back home.
Hear these tales as only Dolores can tell them! Hydock, originally from Pennsylvania,
is an award winning actress and story performer whose work has been featured in
concerts and festivals throughout the United States. She serves as a touring artist
for the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation.
Dolores lives in Birmingham, Alabama and in her spare time, teaches Cajun and
zydeco dancing.