Archived Story

Horizons Unlimited hears talk on Alabama author

Published 10:48am Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Historian Dr. Wayne Flynt told more than 50 area residents about one of Alabama’s lesser known great writers, Perry County native Mary Ward Brown, at Monday’s opening lecture in the Horizons Unlimited program.
Brown didn’t begin writing seriously until after her husband’s death at age 61, but the collection of her works, 1986’s Tongues of Flame, brought her nationwide acclaim. Her work discusses the often “contorted, painful interactions between whites and blacks in (Alabama’s) Black Belt,” Flynt said. He also read aloud her first published story, “Amaryllis.”
Flynt also shared Brown’s life story, from growing up on a farm in the Perry County town of Hamburg — “I’d call it a plantation,” he said — to her marriage to Kirtley Brown and their move to Auburn, through their efforts to keep up the family farm despite little or no experience.
Brown, who died in 2013, based most of her short stories on her experiences growing up in Perry County.
Horizons Unlimited is a community service in its 20th year that provides opportunities for mature learners to meet and explore new subjects, meet experts in a variety of fields and meet new friends. The group meets each Monday from 1:30-3 p.m. at the Alexander City Board of Education building at 375 Lee Street. Membership is $20 per person or $30 per couple for each session.
The fall session continues through Oct. 21 and also includes Dr. Jon Jones Jr. next week. The new surgeon at Russell Medical Center will detail his experiences participating in the world’s first hand transplant. Other topics will include the CIA’s involvement in the Bay of Pigs operation, popular roots music in Alabama and a family that survived the Titanic disaster.

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