An empty chair in a characteristic Alabama's wooden house where a man or a woman can sit calmly at some point with a glass of lemonade or sweet tea in the hand for telling you an interesting story, captured immediately my attention.
Fascinating cover I requested without any doubt the book: Alabama Afternoons Profiles and Conversations by Roy Hoffmann published by University of Alabama Press and I can tell you that it is more than what I would have waited.
If you search for a human real experience, if you want to understand the South and its racial story passing through Selma and Ole Miss go for this book: you'll meet extraordinary people thanks at that fascination so typical and unique of the people of the South.
To me Alabama is synonymy of Forrest Gump, so open spaces, big trees, rural lands and mail boxes, big houses. I discovered, reading this book that there was also an interview with the author of Forrest Gump: Winston Groom. Thanks!!!
Alabama Afternoons is a series of interviews with the Alabama People who for a reasons and another have been important. For some seconds, from decades, for some stamps published nationally because of their books.
Alabama Afternoon is divided for chapters: The Makers, The Tellers, The Journeyers, Witnesses to the Movement, Down Back Roads, Different Windows on Dixie, Personal Sojourns.
Alabama lived a big problem of racism and the black people during the 1960s fought a lot for obtaining more rights helped by many conscious white people. The fusion of black and white people all united for trying to report that amazing years can be found thanks to interviews with painters, journalists, very famous writers, or people who made the difference just for a pic, like it happened to Artelia Bendolph portrayed when she was little in 1937 in the house of her grand-parents. Artelia was black and the purpose of the photographer to trying to represent the poverty of the South in comparison to the North of the country.
Mary Ward Brown is an important storyteller.
There is the story of a very colored rural mailbox and her owner, Bernice Sims. Her paintings, the ones dedicated to Selma became part of the ten stamps commemorative at national level "To Form a More Perfect Union." For remembering the 1960s.
Told the story of Mel Allen. He left Alabama for New York City and this great man found there a great career at the Yankee Stadium reporting baseball matches. Another interview is realized with Gay Talese italian origins born in Alabama but emigrated in New York City. His most famous book: A Writer's Life.
Howell Raines's story is more bitter-sweet. He followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was an important man at the New York Times, although he was fired two years later. The reporter and writer prefers now the South atmosphere.
Johnnie Carr fought with all herself for the rights of black people.
Mr Forman is trying to preserve his old school called Oak Grave, little community the one of mr Forman, schools like churches were places where you could find life.
That school was built more or less at the beginning of last century. William O.Bolton is the guardian of a cemetery for dogs passed away. Interviews with Native Americans and one with Yolande "Bebe" Betbeze, a lady who lived thanks to the title of Miss America 1951 an exceptional existence. A husband she lost while she was in her 30s she is a fan of Hillary Clinton.
Talking of food the story of Abby Fisher the first black lady who published a cookbook "What Mrs. Fishers Knows about Old Southern Cooking, soups, pickles, preserves etc" thanks to an interview realized with Karen Hess and other researches for trying to discover much more about Mrs. Fisher.
Portraits ends with the profile of Mr. Hoffman's dad, Mr. Charles.
I thank the University of Alabama Press for the physical copy of this beautiful book!
Anna Maria Polidori