UWA’s Black Belt Hall of Fame to induct Wayne Flynt and Harper Lee

LIVINGSTON, Ala. — The Black Belt Hall of Fame will honor two prominent figures in the region’s history on Friday, Jan. 29, at a luncheon and induction ceremony from noon-2 p.m. at the University of West Alabama’s Bell Conference Center.

Dr. Wayne Flynt and Ms. Nelle Harper Lee will be honored at the ceremony. Both inductees have devoted their life’s work to the Black Belt region and Alabama, both for its advancement and preservation.

The Black Belt Hall of Fame, a program of the Center for the Study of the Black Belt, seeks to recognize and honor those associated with the Black Belt who have had a positive impact on the region, the state, the nation, and the world through contributions in art, business, education, industry, medicine, politics, and science.

“In both literature and history classes around the nation, the works of Harper Lee and Wayne Flynt influence the thoughts of others. They are both truly ambassadors for Alabama’s Black Belt, and we are thrilled that they will be inducted in the same class,” said Dr. Tina Naremore Jones, Executive Director of the Division of Economic Development and Outreach said. “This will be a special occasion honoring the rich legacy of both individuals.”

Dr. Wayne Flynt: Flynt’s contributions to teaching, writing, and advocacy have made a demonstrated impact on the Black Belt region and Alabama. Born on Oct. 4, 1940, in Pontotoc, Miss., Flynt attended Howard College and received an MS and PhD from Florida State University. After teaching at Samford University for 12 years, he joined the faculty at Auburn University where he remained for 28 years and became a distinguished University Professor Emeritus. Author or co-author of twelve books, including Alabama in the Twentieth Century; Alabama Baptists; Dixie’s Forgotten People, and a memoir, Keeping the Faith, Flynt was the first editor of the Encyclopedia of Alabama and the initial co-editor of the University of Alabama Press series, “Religion and American Culture.” His numerous awards include the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing, two James F. Sulzby Book Awards, two Alabama Library Association Awards, the Judson-Rice Award by “Baptist Today,” and induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor.

Nelle Harper Lee: Born in Monroeville, Ala. on April 28, 1926, Lee has had a major literary impact on America and the world. Lee attended Huntingdon College and the University of Alabama. She then left the state to pursue a literary career in New York. In 1960, the masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published. The novel for which she received the Pulitzer Prize has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Set on the southern edge of Alabama’s Black Belt, the novel contains insightful portrayals of the various levels of society in the 1930s. Lee’s fiction has contributed to the conversation about race and tolerance, hope and family in American society for over half a century. She has written several short stories and essays devoted to Alabama history such as “Christmas to Me.” In 2015, Lee’s much anticipated, Go Set a Watchman was published. For her literary efforts, she has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts.

For ticketing information, please contact Amy Christiansen, Archivist for the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at (205) 652-3655 or achristiansen@uwa.edu. Tickets for the ceremony and luncheon are $15. Reservations should be made by Monday, Jan. 25.