Wednesday, September 18, 2019—“Spring Street” Quartet

“Feels So Right—Celebrating Alabama’s Musical Heritage”

Sylacauga’s own talented singers and musicians— “Spring Street”— will kick off the fall brown bag series by revisiting our state’s rich musical history with songs by, about and enjoyed by Alabamians!   Music brings us together, defining what it means to be an Alabamian and an American—giving us a cultural identity that embraces religious and secular music for the purpose of worshipping, remembering,
enjoying, entertaining, and engaging in social experiences.   During our 200th birthday year, we have reason to celebrate our state’s music by showcasing a wealth of talent that runs the gamut from spirituals, hymns, ballads, folksongs, bluegrass, to country, rock and rhythm and blues—a legacy that is reflected in our halls of fame, our Muscle Shoals musical epicenter, our concerts, and never-ending rallies and celebrations!  

“Spring Street”—a quartet made up of talented musicians and singers Rocky Lucas, David Simpkins, Matt Crocker, and Steve Lewis—will bring a repertoire of songs that offers something for everyone. It feels so right to showcase these committed local artists as they journey through an array of singers and songs—offering something to please everyone!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019—Alex Colvin

“One Large Connected Family: Understanding Early Creek Life”

The 21st Century perspective creates difficulty for many in understanding that among the North
American Indians, the foundation of social organization, and thus the government was the bond of real and legal blood kinship.  The complex system of relationships varied between tribes, but the Creek Indians traced their lineage, birthright, and social classification through the mother’s line.  Dr. Alex Colvin will give a look at how the Indians lived during the early period of Creek life, focusing on how the Creeks organized their families and towns. Her talk will also cover the early relationship between the Creek Nation and the United States and the devastating Red Stick War of 1813-14.

Alex Colvin has a B.A. degree from Samford University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Auburn University. 
She is the Public Programs Curator at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Her work has earned the Jacquelyn Dowd Hall Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians; Hitchcock Graduate Award for Excellence; and the honor of being a specialist for the Alabama Bicentennial Master Teacher Program.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019—Chris Haveman

“Bending Their Way Onward: The Tragedy of the Westward March and Resettlement”

In prior visits, Dr. Haveman talked about Indian removal, focusing on the loss of territory through treaties and unchecked intrusion of white settlers who illegally expropriated Native soil, dispossessing approximately twenty-three thousand Creek Indians from their homeland. On this visit, Haveman will talk about “the physically and emotionally exhausting journey where hundreds of Creeks died, dozens were born, and almost no one escaped without emotional scars caused by leaving the land of their ancestors.”   The scholar—an expert on the subject of Indian removal— will talk about the experiences and logistics of Creek Indian removal including detailed accounts of the hardships the Creeks faced during their tedious march to Indian Territory, their time in the camps during the journey west, and vignettes about life on board the steamboats as the Creeks navigated the western rivers.

A native of Washington State, Haveman is associate professor of history at the University of West Alabama. He studied at Western Washington University and Marquette University before receiving the Ph.D. at Auburn University in 2009. Dr. Haveman’s first book, Rivers of Sand: Creek Indian Emigration,
Relocation, and Ethnic Cleansing in the American South, 
won the James F. Sulsby Book Award from the Alabama Historical Association, and his second book, Bending Their Way Onward: Indian Removal Documents, was chosen as the Outstanding Academic Title by Choice.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019—Nancy Anderson

“Alabama’s Gone With The Wind: The Believable Story of the Fictional Whetstone Clan Who Helped Settle Alabama”

Present-day Alabama—opened to settlement at the end of the Creek War of 1813-1814—experienced a wave of migration from the eastern United States to establish land claims. The frenzy—known as “Alabama Fever”—resulted in the admission of Alabama as a state in 1819! Alabama native, Lella Warren spent fourteen years researching the settling of Alabama before writing and publishing her novel, Foundation Stone, in 1940.   Warren’s story of the fictional Whetstone family relates the hopes and struggles of a clan that left a worn-out plantation in South Carolina to come to Alabama in the 1820s; helped lead it to prosperity in the 1850s; and then fought for it in the War Between the States. Warren and Margaret Mitchell of Gone with the Wind fame were contemporaries, but Warren’s book is about the South of pioneers and the frontier, rather than the South of plantations and magnolias!   Nancy Anderson, an authority on Lella Warren, will relate the compelling story of the Whetstone Clan.

Nancy Anderson has a B.S. degree (Millsaps College) and and M.A. degree (University of Virginia). She taught Southern and American literature at AUM for over forty years— conducting writing courses and leading summer teaching institutes on To Kill a Mockingbird.   Anderson has publications on Zelda Fitzgerald, Richard Marius, Lella Warren, and Harper Lee. She has received awards for her teaching and scholarship, was honored in 2016 by the Alabama Humanities Foundation with the Wayne Greenhaw Service Award, and now serves as AUM’s campus liaison for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019—John Dersham
“Alabama’s Beauty and Diversity Through the Eyes of a Master Photographer”
Using images from his first published book—My AlabamaJohn Dersham
Photographs a State
—the master photographer himself will tell the story of our state using his stunning photographs that are each worth a thousand words! He will take the audience on a trip across the most biologically diverse state east of the Mississippi—a deep south state that is the fifth most forested by percent of land mass and is blessed with one of the richest river complexes in the world! A state that has the largest inland delta system, and one that can boast of five distinct physiographic regions and four real seasons! You will travel through a warm, green Alabama spring on the Cahaba River to a summer evening on Weiss Lake. You may bundle up on a frosty morning to see one of the state’s many waterfalls or to wander a path on the snow-covered Lookout Mountain. You will move past breathtaking landscapes, beautiful lakes, rustic country stores, gleaming cityscapes, and on to the port of Mobile. Don’t miss the astonishing varied beauty of the Yellowhammer State captured in every shot of the camera!

John Dersham is an internationally recognized, award-winning photographer, whose art photography and commercial work has been featured in galleries and other exhibits nationwide. He is one of the most sought-after photography instructors and speakers on the subject of photography in the Southeast. He developed his love of photography in his 30 years spent working at Kodak. Today, Dersham is President of DeKalb Tourism.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019—Ed Bridges

“Artifacts I Have Loved: Reflections of an Old Director”

As part of the Bicentennial, former Archives director Ed Bridges has created a program centered around photos and stories about unique objects in the collections of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The familiarity that Dr. Bridges had with the original collection, coupled with the hundreds, if not thousands of artifacts that were added to the collection during his thirty years at the Archives, give him a unique knowledge of Alabama’s story. The artifacts that Bridges will discuss illustrates the broad range and richness of Alabama history and provide a unique perspective on our Bicentennial. Examples that he has chosen range from Hank Williams’ first Gibson guitar to earrings worn by the Indian leader Osceloa to Guiseppe Moretti’s bust of Christ which is sculpted from Sylacauga marble. 

Ed Bridges grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia, and has a B.A. from Furman University as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. He served six years at the Georgia Archives and then as Director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) for over thirty years before retiring in 2012 when he was appointed the Director Emeritus. Most recently, Dr. Bridges helped plan and organize the state’s bicentennial commemorations and he served a 14-month term as the interim director of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. His latest book is a general history of Alabama entitled Alabama: The Making of an American State published by the University of Alabama Press. He and his wife, Martha, have three daughters.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019—Roger Vines

“Celebrating With Roger Vines and the Sylacauga Songwriters Showcase”

Roger Vines, a singer/songwriter from Rockford, Alabama, is the co-coordinator for the Sylacauga Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).  The chapter started almost a decade ago in Weogufka and then moved to Sylacauga for monthly meetings.  The group enjoys the benefits of NSAI providing legislative advocacy as well as song evaluations by professionals, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and opportunities to pitch songs to publishers, and songwriter’s workshops.

Roger has released CDs and his songs are on YouTube.  He performs locally at festivals, restaurants and other venues, singing songs that are mostly country with a twist of humor.  Vine also creates amazing chainsaw art sculptures.  He is excited about bringing in Troy Jones and several members of the Sylacauga Songwriters to offer entertainment and enrichment as a part of the SouthFirst Bank’s “Celebrating Alabama’s People, Places and Events” series. The audience will enjoy hearing the stories and songs, and they will hear songs like those played on the radio, many of which have been recorded by well-known artists and performers.   

Wednesday, November 6, 2019—Dolores Hydock

“Alabama Christmas Memories”

We end our fall series and begin the holiday season with storyteller Dolores Hydock, who shares Christmas stories from two of Alabama’s most beloved, world-famous writers and storytellers: Kathryn Tucker Windham and Truman Capote. “It’s Christmas” and “A Christmas Memory” are not just stories about Christmas, they are stories that paint a loving portrait of the people, traditions, and daily life in small Alabama towns many years ago. Family, special friendships, and memories of generosity and love fill these heartwarming stories with the holiday spirit!

Dolores Hydock— originally from Pennsylvania—is Alabama’s storyteller! She came as a college student to Chandler Mountain to collect local folklore—and to get her first-ever taste of cornbread! Dolores stayed in Alabama, and now after many years of hearing and watching Dolores tell her fabulous stories, Alabamians claim her as their own! Dolores is an actress/story performer whose work has been featured at events throughout the United States. She is a touring artist for the Alabama State Council on the Arts, a speaker with the AlabamaHumanities Foundation, and a member of the Southern Order of Storytellers. Dolores lives in Birmingham.