The new book, THE FUTURE EMERGES FROM THE PAST: Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama African-American History and Culture is an exhaustive look at the history, people, events, institutions, and movements that contributed to the Great State of Alabama, the nation, and world over the past 200 years. In conjunction with the Bicentennial celebration marking Alabama’s 200th year as a state, the Alabama Bicentennial Commission worked with staff from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and the African-American Heritage Committee to create a 244-page hardcover publication dedicated to various aspects of Alabama history.
The book, made possible through generous corporate sponsorship from AT&T, explores everything from Alabama and its roots in slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction/Post-Reconstruction, and segregation, to the modern Civil Rights movement, African-American contributions in the United States Armed Forces, colleges and universities, and the new frontier – modern day history and history makers.
State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Eric Mackey, said the book chronicles much of what has underwritten the history of Alabama and provide valuable insight for anyone looking for a true historical perspective. “Although this publication focuses primarily on the contributions of African-Americans in Alabama over the past 200 years, this book is essentially about Alabama history,” Mackey said. “Regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, or social status, the people in this book played, and continue to play, integral parts of making Alabama the state it is today.”
The book not only covers the historical impact made on the state, but also showcases some of the pictures and imagery associated with decades of progress.
The visual elements on the cover of this book represent eight distinct geographical regions in Alabama that are recognized as significant areas in the early development of African American communities and culture in the state.
“The celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial was an opportunity to create projects of lasting impact,” notes Sen. Arthur Orr, chair of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission. “’The Future Emerges from the Past’ is a legacy of the commemoration that will continue to inform readers about Alabama’s history for a long time to come.”
AT&T, the corporate sponsor of this endeavor, sought to collaborate with the Bicentennial Commission to acknowledge past achievements as well as motivate future generations. Mr. C. Wayne Hutchens, president of AT&T Alabama, said AT&T is committed to strengthening communities and celebrating the contributions of remarkable people who make our state and nation great. “It is simply not enough to celebrate the past. We must also contribute to the future,” Hutchens said. “As we celebrate Alabama’s Bicentennial by highlighting the immeasurable achievements of African-Americans who have contributed to our rich heritage, let us look to the future and draw strength by embracing our diversity.”
“As we celebrate Alabama’s Bicentennial by highlighting the immeasurable achievements of African-Americans who have contributed to our rich heritage, let us look to the future and draw strength by embracing our diversity.”Wayne Hutchens, president AT&T Alabama
This publication informs the present and continues the sponsor’s commitment to continuing education in the future.
“By making this book available in every school and Historically Black College & University (HBCU) in the state, we can help ensure future generations understand the full scope of what made Alabama what it is today,” said John Turner, Regions President and CEO. “We are committed to advancing education across the communities we serve. This book provides a compelling, impactful, and in-depth understanding of Alabama’s rich, and often turbulent, African American history. It pays tribute to men and women who fought for progress and equality, and it shows how their legacy of standing for what is right can inspire current and future generations.”
Those who spearheaded this endeavor say it is the total historical perspective that the book provides that gives readers a deeper dive into Alabama history than is usually experienced.
“I am proud of this book because it highlights the important dates in the history of African Americans in Alabama,” notes Patricia Ford, a member of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and chair of the African American Heritage Committee. “It is especially important in terms of honoring the people wo helped build this state, first as slaves and later as citizens.”
Mrs. Nettie Carson-Mullins, major contributor to the book and social sciences education and dual enrollment specialist for the ALSDE, said the publication was a massive undertaking, but one that was necessary to bring forth Alabama history, much of which had not been widely known before.
“It was truly a labor of love putting this project together. There is so much vital information about Alabama and how we came to be who we are today as a state – much of which has never been collected and/or discussed in an educational setting,” Mullins said. “This is a culmination of Alabama history from the perspective of those who seldom had an opportunity to tell their stories. Some of the information in the book is well known historical material, however; much of the information included has remained obscured and has never been unveiled. We are excited about everyone having the opportunity to learn about the exciting and significant contributions African-American people made in Alabama.”