The Outreach/Education sub-committee of the Alabama Book Festival planning committee invited the state’s high school students (grades 9 – 12) and university undergraduates to participate in the first Student Readers Group. This new program of the Alabama Book Festival (ABF) selected one Alabama-related book per year for student participants to read prior to meeting the author and discussing the book at the festival on April 21, 2012, at Montgomery’s Old Alabama Town.
This interdisciplinary program seeks to engage high school and college students in Alabama’s culture, literature and history by selecting and encouraging the reading of books (of nonfiction, fiction, or poetry) that connect to or discuss the realities of life in the state. Jim Crow and Me: Stories from My Life as a Civil Rights Lawyer by Solomon Seay Jr. is the inaugural selection for the Student Readers Group.
Published in 2009 by NewSouth Books, Jim Crow and Me received the following endorsement from the Midwest Book Review:
Raised by a preacher father whom Martin Luther King Jr. himself would cite as mentor and inspiration, Seay studied hard, and was one of only ten black lawyers in all of Alabama when he began his professional practice in 1957. His story is not a uniformly flowing narrative, but rather a series of intense vignettes, evoking the power and difficulty of challenging the old order and bringing a new standard of equality to America as a whole and the South in particular. Highly recommended.
Participants in the Student Readers Group should be currently enrolled in a public or private high school, an accredited home-school program that places them in one of grades 9—12, or in an accredited college or university as an undergraduate. There is no fee for participating, but students must obtain their own copies of the book. We also invite teachers to involve their classes in this program; as well, extracurricular groups, church youth groups and individual students may participate. Any student, teacher, or sponsor who is planning to join should notify the Festival by one of the following methods:
1. “Like” the Alabama Book Festival Student Readers Group on Facebook
2. Contact Foster Dickson at
More information about teaching resources and the convening will be provided to teachers, parents, and students who inquire or sign up. Also, we can do the best job of planning our convening and having adequate space and resources if we know who and how many people will be there.
Many bookstores and libraries around the state are being notified that Jim Crow and Me was selected for the Student Readers Group and are being encouraged to stock the title. We ask that all participants read the book before the Alabama Book Festival.
For any questions, contact Foster Dickson, the Outreach/Education chairperson for the ABF planning committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.