Posts Tagged ‘Wayne Flynt’

Served in Birmingham is less than a week away! Buy tickets today.

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Please join us at Served in Birmingham next Thursday, November 11 at the Kress Building Penthouse in Birmingham for an evening to benefit the Alabama Poverty Project.

World Food Laureate & Bread for the World President David Beckmann will speak at 5 p.m. Local food, drinks and a silent auction will follow.

Proceeds will benefit the Alabama Poverty Project’s work mobilizing Alabamians to eliminate poverty. All funds raised will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham matching grant.

Buy tickets today:

Served in Birmingham tickets

Or visit for tickets, details & directions.

Can’t make it? Visit our membership page to give now.

Thank you for your support!

Thank you to all of our sponsors for donating the following items! Bid on these unique gifts and more at our silent auction next Thursday:

…and much, much more!!!

Space is limited. Buy tickets TODAY at

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Alabama Possible Summit: fighting poverty with faith

Friday, October 29th, 2010

We were thrilled by the turnout for our Alabama Possible Summit last Monday. Over 115 people joined us at Samford University to talk about fighting poverty with faith and building relationships with those we serve in ministry. Dr. Wayne Flynt said that it was “a great day…every session was original, passionate and interesting.”

Below: keynote speakers R.G. Lyons and Wayne Flynt

Dr. Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus of History at Auburn and a founding board member of APP, talked about the context of poverty in Alabama and the Biblical call to relational ministry.

View his comments – part 1 (below):

part 2

R.G. Lyons of Community Church Without Walls/WE Community Gardens gave a fabulous presentation on community organizing including the 3 “R’s”: relocation, redistribution, and reconciliation:

part 2

Jim Branum of the Birmingham Baptist Association spoke about how to nourish individual relationships.

We also had lively roundtable discussions on homelessness ministry, home repair, rural ministries and educational ministry.

Below: Rev. Emily Penfield leads discussion on homelessness ministries; Lisa Pierce from Alabama Rural Ministry led the roundtable on home repair. Not shown: Leslie Manning, Sawyerville Work Project, led a roundtable discussion on rural ministries; Beverly Sansom, M-Power Ministries, led a discussion on literacy ministry.

Big thanks are due to Samford’s Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence, the Beeson Divinity School Global Center and the Pete Hanna Center. Thanks to our sponsors at O’Henry’s Coffee, V. Richards, Crestline Bagels and Starbucks for donating delicious coffee and snacks.

Thanks also to our co-sponsors and partners: the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Alabama Faith Council, Alabama Rural Ministry, Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Greater Birmingham Ministries, UAB Catholic Student Association, and Urban Ministry.

More resources:

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Celebrating 50 years of To Kill A Mockingbird

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

We couldn’t let this milestone pass without comment. The 50th Anniversary Celebration of To Kill A Mockingbird kicks off today in Monroeville with a viewing of the 1963 film, continues Friday and Saturday with a marathon reading of the book (among other things) and concludes Sunday afternoon with a huge party to commemorate the book’s publication date.

Visitors to the Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville’s Old Courthouse Museum

We couldn’t think of anyone better to ask about this book’s impact than noted historian Wayne Flynt, professor emeritus at Auburn University and co-founder of the Alabama Poverty Project. Flynt, who has been called the conscience of Alabama, told me that the book influenced the course of his entire career. In the early 1960s, discouraged by racism and prejudice in Alabama’s white churches, Flynt had given up hope of ever living or serving as a minister in the state and moved away. When he read To Kill A Mockingbird in the wake of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963, he realized that if a white woman from Monroeville could write such a novel about tolerance and empathy, there was hope for the state yet.

After earning his PhD from Florida State University, he returned home and wrote the definitive modern history of our state, Alabama in the Twentieth Century.  Dr. Flynt breaks down the dynamics of race, class, religion, and poverty as only he can. That’s right: we have Harper Lee’s novel to thank for Wayne Flynt’s work in Alabama – work that includes our own founding in 1993.

Flynt observes:

By almost any measurement, To Kill A Mockingbird is the most important novel ever authored by a native Alabamian. The Pulitzer Prize–winning novel spent 88 weeks on bestseller lists, and by the 35th anniversary of its publication in 1995 had sold 30 million copies. It continues to sell almost a million copies a year and is often ranked among the top 40 best-sellers listed in the newspaper USA Today. The themes and issues raised in the novel remain relevant, and thus To Kill A Mockingbird will likely hold its place in public discourse on tolerance, justice, and humanity.

Popular acclaim for the novel owes much to the message of tolerance that Lee proclaimed during an intolerant age. Atticus’s admonition to his children that they will never understand a person until they consider life from his or her point of view is viewed as trite by some critics, but the novel’s message had profound effects for Jews in Prague, homosexuals in Berlin, and gypsies in eastern Europe who had been the victims of Nazi oppression. It was no less relevant to the displaced whites from Arkansas and Oklahoma who trekked to California as migrant laborers during the 1930s, or to Appalachian whites who migrated to auto industry jobs in Michigan during the 1940s and 1950s.

To Kill A Mockingbird has played a significant role in the intense half-century debate Americans have had about the role of education in fostering moral values. Should public schools teach values? If so, what values? Whose values? Hundreds of thousands of American teachers have chosen to teach To Kill A Mockingbird, deciding that Harper Lee’s values represent the best of humanity: tolerance; kindness; civility; justice; the courage to face down community or family when they are wrong; and the compassion to love them despite their flaws. Despite these qualities, the novel is one of the books most frequently banned by local school boards because of the plot (which involves an alleged rape) and the theme (tolerance for people who do not conform to community norms). When the book first appeared, Alabama’s White Citizens Council called the work “communistic” for promoting racial integration and tried to have the state director of the Alabama Public Library Service fired for refusing to remove it from state libraries.

Ironically, a novel written by a woman from Monroeville in Alabama’s Black Belt has become the primary literary instrument worldwide for teaching values of racial justice, tolerance for people different from ourselves, and the need for moral courage in the face of community prejudice and ostracism.

-excerpted from Dr. Flynt’s Encyclopedia of Alabama entry on To Kill A Mockingbird

Wayne Flynt currently serves as the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Alabama and serves on APP’s Board of Directors.

Posted by Robyn Hyden

The blame game.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Last week, my friends and I had a pretty intense conversation about the Facebook group “Making Drug Tests Required to Get Welfare” and the counter group “Cringing in disbelief at “Making Drug Tests Required to Get Welfare.”

What’s my take away?  That many people don’t understand TANF (aka welfare) or drug addiction (which even the US Government recognizes is a disease).

These Facebook groups, coupled with South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer’s comment that when the government helps the poor, it’s like people feeding stray animals that continually “breed,” have re-opened a conversation about Americans’ lack of empathy for the poor in hard economic times.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a comprehensive examination of this phenomenon on Monday in the article “In hard times, Americans blame the poor.”

Some highlights:

In an April 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center in Washington, 72 percent agreed with the statement that “poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs.” That’s up from 69 percent in 2007.

“The economic downturn has made the middle class less generous toward others,” said Guy Molyneux, a partner at Hart Research Associates, a Washington firm that researches attitudes toward the poor. “People are less supportive of the government helping the poor, because they feel they’re not getting enough help themselves.

. . .

Matt Wray, a sociologist at Temple University, agreed: “Hatred of the poor is fueled by the middle class’s fear of falling during hard times.”

Americans don’t understand how the poor are victimized by a lack of jobs, inefficient schools, and unsafe neighborhoods, experts say.

“People ignore the structural issues – jobs leaving, industry becoming more mechanized,” said Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson. . . “Then they point to the poor and ask, ‘Why aren’t you making it?’ “

Alabamians are facing hard times – 1 in 6 of us and 1 in 4 children live on less than the federal poverty threshold, which is just over $21,000 for a family of four.  And unemployment has hit 11 percent, the highest it has been in 26 years.

Alabama has poor as long as we have been a state.  And I for one don’t think that’s because Alabamians are lazy or drug addicts.  I think it is because we all face some major structural hurdles in achieving the prosperity I know we are capable of.

Want to learn the facts about welfare in Alabama?  Check out our fact sheet here.

And want to learn about the larger structural issues?  Wayne Flynt’s Alabama in the 20th Century is a terrific resource, and I highly recommend reading the first four chapters.

Posted by Kristina Scott