Wednesday, October 6, 2021—Scotty Kirkland
“A (fast) Walk Through History: Alabama’s Bicentennial Park”
Conceived as the principal legacy of the 200th-anniversary commemoration of statehood, Alabama Bicentennial Park is the result of the collective vision, dedication, and talents of dozens of individuals. A 2017 act of the Alabama Legislature authorized the park’s creation, intending that it be a place for the public to “unite in recognizing the challenges, accomplishments, and promise of Alabama and its remarkable people.” The park’s bronze relief sculptures present sixteen moments from Alabama history, complemented by narratives that provide historical context. Beginning with the land that would become Alabama and tracing its human history to 2019, the images and text reflect a rich, dynamic past filled with challenge, change, and accomplishment. They represent every region of the state and Alabamians of many backgrounds. In this presentation, Scotty E. Kirkland, who served as a member of the oversight committee, will discuss the park’s creation and offer a brief overview of the sixteen bronze panels.

Scotty E. Kirkland is exhibits, publications, and programs coordinator at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and chairman of the Alabama Historical Association’s marker committee. He holds degrees in history and political science from Troy University-Dothan Campus and the University of South Alabama. His work on Alabama and the Modern South has received research and writing awards from the Gulf South Historical Association, the Alabama  Historical Association, and the Lillian Smith Center. He has served as a guest scholar for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Alabama Humanities Alliance. A frequent contributor to Alabama Heritage and Business Alabama magazines, his most his most recent publication was the catalog for We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents, the Archives’ award-winning bicentennial exhibition. Scotty lives with his wife and two children in Wetumpka.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021—Wayne Flynt
“Settling Sylacauga: An Alabama Family Migration Story”
Although my maternal grandmother’s Cadenhead family lived in what is now Clay County in the 1840s, my connections to the County mainly are through my wife’s people. Her father was born to the Smith family who lived in a cabin on the spine of the mountain between Ashland/Lineville and Sylacauga. A series of disasters led to the fragmentation of the family, some of whom remained and others who moved to Sylacauga in the 1920s. Although the specifics of when and why they moved may be unique, the story is universal and inspiring.

Wayne Flynt, one of the country’s foremost historians, graduated from Anniston High School and Howard College (now Samford University) and took his doctorate at Florida State University. After teaching at Samford for twelve years, he became head of the history department at Auburn and retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 2005. He has received numerous teaching awards and has written thirteen book that focus largely on the historical, economic and social fabric of Alabama, including Poor But Proud: Alabama’s Poor Whites; Alabama in the Twentieth Century, and he co-authored Alabama: The History of a Deep South State. Flynt’s friendship with Harper Lee was reflected in his book, Mockingbird Songs, with more to come in his soon to be published book, Evenings with Harper Lee. He was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor and was named Alabamian of the Year by the Mobile Register.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021—Judy Hood and Debbie Wilson
“Alabama Music: The Magic of the Muscle Shoals Sound”
The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio was founded in 1969 by four session musicians—the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section—now affectionately known as The Swampers. The studio hosted such greats as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart, and Cat Stevens. The old studio, listed on the National Register of  Historic Places in June of 2006, was purchased by the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation in 2013 and restored to its previous glory with an interior reminiscent of the 1970s and relevant recording equipment and paraphernalia. Since its reopening in 2017, the studio has seen visitors from all 50 states, 40 different counties, and every continent. Whether you have visited the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio or have it on your bucket list, you will be informed and entertained and reminded of the creativity and ingenuity of the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio!

Judy Hood—wife of Swamper bassist, David Hood—is Chairman of the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation. She is a marketing/communications professional whose career spans more than three decades in corporate communications, music tourism, and economic growth. Debbie Wilson is the Executive Director of the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation. She has worked in tourism, radio, television, and location filming in various parts of the country. Judy and Debbie work as a team to enhance the legacy and sustain the future of the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021—Mike Bunn
“The Fourteenth Colony—The Forgotten Story of the Gulf South During the American Revolutionary War”
The British colony of West Florida-which once stretched from the mighty Mississippi to the shallow bends of the Apalachicola and portions of what are now the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana-is the forgotten fourteenth colony of America’s Revolutionary era. The colony’s eventful years as a part of the British Empire form an important and compelling interlude in Gulf Coast history that has for too long been overlooked. For a host of reasons, including the fact that West Florida did not rebel against the British Government, the colony has long been dismissed as a loyal but inconsequential fringe outpost, if considered at all. But the colony’s history showcases a tumultuous political scene featuring a halting attempt at instituting representative government; a host of bold and colorful characters; a compelling saga of struggle and perseverance in the pursuit of financial stability; and a dramatic series of battles on land and water which brought about the end of its days under the Union Jack flag.

Mike Bunn serves as Director of Historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He is author of Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798-1826; Alabama From Territory to Statehood: An Alabama Heritage Bicentennial Collection; Well Worth Stopping to See: Antebellum Columbus, Georgia Through the Eyes of Travelers; Civil War Eufaula; Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812; and Images of America: The Lower Chattahoochee River. Mike’s latest book, Fourteenth Colony, relates the story of the Gulf Coast’s remarkable British period, putting West Florida back in its rightful place on the map of Colonial America. Mike serves on the boards of several local and statewide historical and cultural organizations. Mike has an undergraduate degree from Faulkner University; two master’s degrees from the University of Alabama; and he lives with his wife Tonya and daughter Zoey in Daphne, Alabama.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021—Dolores Hydock
“Pedaling Hard on the Cycle of Life”
Whether it’s diet fads, technology trends, or seeing your mother’s face in the mirror, the truth is that what goes around, comes around, and everything old is new again. Join storyteller Dolores Hydock for some funny, affectionate, and mostly true stories about the cycle of life that keeps us all pedaling as hard as we can. These stories are a perfect fit for the “welcome back” theme of the lecture series since life does seem to cycle around and around and then back again!

Dolores Hydock is an actress and storyteller whose one-woman shows and stories have been featured at conferences, concerts, and special events throughout the United States, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. She has been Teller-in-Residence at the International Storytelling  Center in Jonesborough, has collaborated with the Birmingham Museum of Art to blend stories with special exhibits, and her Christmas story special, performed with musician Bobby Horton, airs during the holiday season on NPR-affiliate WBHM in Birmingham. Originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, home of the Reading Railroad and Luden’s Cough Drops, Dolores now lives in Irondale, just four blocks from the Whistle Stop Cafe. If the wind is just right, she can stand on her front porch and smell the aroma of fried green tomatoes.