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Wayne Flynt is a Distinguished University Professor of History at Auburn University and author or co-author of eleven books. He has been recognised with numerous awards and honours, including the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing, the James F. Sulzby Book Award (twice) and the Alabama Library Association Award for non-fiction (twice).
The violent racism of the American South drove Wayne Flynt away from his home state of Alabama, but the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's classic novel about courage, community and equality, inspired him to return in the early 1960s and craft a career documenting and teaching Alabama history. His writing resonated with many Alabamians, in particular three sisters: Louise, Alice, and Nelle Harper Lee. Beginning with their first meeting in 1983, a mutual respect and affection for the state's history and literature matured into a deep friendship between two families who can trace their roots there back more than five generations. Flynt and Nelle Harper Lee began writing to one other while she was living in New York - heartfelt, insightful and humorous letters in which they swapped stories, information and opinions on topics both personal and professional: their families, books, Alabama history and social values, health concerns, and even their fears and accomplishments. Though their earliest missives began formally - Dear Dr Flynt - as the years passed and their mutual admiration grew, their exchanges became more intimate and emotional, opening with Dear Friend and closing with I love you, Nelle. Through their enduring correspondence, the Lees and the Flynts became completely immersed in each other's lives.
The vast range and complexity of Alabama's triumphs and low points in a defining century. Wayne Flynt is Distinguished University Professor of History at Auburn University and author or coauthor of 11 books, including Alabama Baptists: Southern Baptists in the Heart of Dixie, Poor But Proud: Alabama's Poor Whites, Alabama: The History of a Deep South State, and Taking Christianity to China: Alabama Missionaries in the Middle Kingdom, 1850-1950. He has been recognized by numerous awards and honors, including the Lillian Smith Award for nonfiction, the Clarence Cason Nonfiction Award, the James F. Sulzby Jr. Book Award (twice), and the Alabama Library Association Award for nonfiction (twice).
An indelible portrait of one of the most famous and beloved authors in the canon of American literature - a collection of letters between Harper Lee and one of her closest friends that reveals the famously private writer as never before, in her own words. The violent racism of the American South drove Wayne Flynt away from his home in Alabama, but the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's classic novel about courage, community and equality, inspired him to return in the early 1960s and craft a career documenting and teaching Alabama history. His writing resonated with many, in particular three sisters: Louise, Alice and Nelle Harper Lee. The two families first met in 1983, and a mutual respect and affection for the state's history and literature matured into a deep friendship between them. Wayne Flynt and Nelle Harper Lee began writing to one other while she was living in New York - heartfelt, insightful and humorous letters in which they swapped stories, information and opinions on topics including their families, books, social values, health concerns and even their fears and accomplishments. Though their earliest missives began formally - `Dear Dr Flynt' - as the years passed, their exchanges became more intimate and emotional, opening with `Dear Friend' and closing with `I love you, Nelle.' This is a remarkable compendium of a correspondence that lasted for a quarter century - until Harper Lee's death in February 2016 - and it offers an incisive and compelling look into the mind, heart and work of one of the most beloved authors in modern literary history.
Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century is a collection of fifteen essays by award-winning scholar Wayne Flynt that explores and reveals the often-forgotten religious heterogeneity of the American South. Throughout its dramatic history, the American South has wrestled with issues such as poverty, social change, labor reform, civil rights, and party politics, and Flynt's writing reaffirms religion as the lens through which southerners understand and attempt to answer these contentious questions. In Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century, however, Flynt gently but persuasively dispels the myth-comforting to some and dismaying to others-of religion in the South as an inert cairn of reactionary conservatism. Flynt introduces a wealth of stories about individuals and communities of faith whose beliefs and actions map the South's web of theological fault lines. In the early twentieth century, North Carolinian pastor Alexander McKelway became a relentless crusader against the common practice of child labor. In 1972, Rev. Dr. Ruby Kile, in a time of segregated churches led by men, took the helm of the eight-member Powderly Faith Deliverance Center in Jefferson County, Alabama and built the fledgling group into a robust congregation with more than 700 black and white worshippers. Flynt also examines the role of religion in numerous pivotal court cases, such as the US Supreme Court school prayer case Engel v. Vitale, whose majority opinion was penned by Justice Hugo Black, an Alabamian. These fascinating case studies and many more illuminate a religious landscape of far more varied texture and complexity than is commonly believed. Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century offers much to readers and scholars interested in the South, religion, and theology. Writing with his hallmark wit, warmth, and erudition, Flynt's Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century is a vital record of gospel-inspired southerners whose stories revivify sclerotic assumptions about the narrow conformity of southern Christians.
This historical memoir by the widely recognised scholar, Wayne Flynt, chronicles the inner workings of his academic career at Samford and Auburn Universities, as well as his many contributions to the general history of Alabama. Flynt has travelled the state and the South lecturing and teaching both lay and academic groups, calling on his detailed knowledge of both the history and power structures in Alabama to reveal uncomfortable truths wherever he finds them, whether in academic institutions that fall short of their stated missions, in government and industry leaders who seek and hold power by playing to the fears and prejudices of the public, or in religious groups who abandon their original missions and instead seek financial and emotional comfort in lip service only. In doing so he has not only energised those who think the State of Alabama can and must do better, but also has earned the enmity of those who prosper, profit, and prevaricate for their own selfish ends. Nevertheless, Flynt utilises a lifetime of learning and reflection to voice the conscience of his community. Keeping the Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives tells the story of his life and his courageous battles against an indifferent or hostile hierarchy with modesty and honesty. In doing so he tells us how Alabama institutions really are manipulated and, more importantly, why we should care.
Alabama Baptists provides the definitive history of the dominant religious group within the state of Alabama from the first decade of the 19th century to the present.
An authoritative popular history that places the state in regional and national context. Alabama is a state full of contrasts. On the one hand, it has elected the lowest number of women to the state legislature of any state in the union; yet according to historians it produced two of the ten most important American women of the 20th century - Helen Keller and Rosa Parks. Its people are fanatically devoted to conservative religious values; yet they openly idolize tarnished football programs as the source of their heroes. Citizens who are puzzled by Alabama's maddening resistance to change or its incredibly strong sense of tradition and community will find important clues and new understanding within these pages. Written by passionate Alabamian and accomplished historian Wayne Flynt, Alabama in the Twentieth Century offers supporting arguments for both detractors and admirers of the state. A native son who has lived, loved, taught, debated, and grieved within the state for 60 of the 100 years described, the author does not flinch from pointing out Alabama's failures, such as the woeful yoke of a 1901 state constitution, the oldest one in the nation; neither is he restrained in calling attention to the state's triumphs against great odds, such as its phenomenal number of military heroes and gifted athletes, its dazzling array of writers, folk artists, and musicians, or its haunting physical beauty despite decades of abuse. Chapters are organized by topic - politics, the economy, education, African Americans, women, the military, sport, religion, literature, art, journalism - rather than chronologically, so the reader can digest the whole sweep of the century on a particular subject. Flynt's writing style is engaging, descriptive, free of clutter, yet based on sound scholarship. This book offers teachers and readers alike the vast range and complexity of Alabama's triumphs and low points in a defining century.
The best sort of introductory study... packed with enlightening information. -The Times Literary Supplement Poor whites have been isolated from mainstream white Southern culture and have been in turn stereotyped as rednecks and Holy Rollers, discriminated against, and misunderstood. In their isolation, they have developed a unique subculture and defended it with a tenacity and pride that puzzles and confuses the larger society. Written 25 years ago, this book was one scholar's attempt to understand these people and their culture. For this new edition, Wayne Flynt has provided a new retrospective introduction and an up-to-date bibliography.
Beginning early in the 19th century, the American missionary movement made slow headway in China. Alabamians became part of that small beachhead. After 1900 both the money and personnel rapidly expanded, peaking in the early 1920s. By the 1930s many American denominations became confused and divided over the appropriateness of the missionary endeavor. Secular American intellectuals began to criticize missionaries as meddling do-gooders trying to impose American Evangelicalism on a proud, ancient culture. By examining the lives of 47 Alabama missionaries who served in China between 1850 and 1950, Flynt and Berkley reach a different conclusion. Although Alabama missionaries initially fit the negative description of Americans trying to superimpose their own values and beliefs on heathen, they quickly learned to respect Chinese civilization. The result was a new synthesis, neither entirely southern nor entirely Chinese. Although previous works focus on the failure of Christianity to change China, this book focuses on the degree to which their service in China changed Alabama missionaries. And the change was profound. In their consideration of 47 missionaries from a single state--their call to missions, preparation for service in China, living, working, contacts back home, cultural clashes, political views, internal conflicts, and gender relations--the authors suggest that the efforts by Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian missionaries from Alabama were not the failure judged by many historians. In fact, the seeds sown in the hundred years before the Communist revolution in 1950 seem to be reaping a rich harvest in the declining years of the 20th century, when the number of Chinese Christians is estimated by some to be as high as one hundred million.