Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"...and walk through a door that leads to opportunity for others.”

“There will come a day in your life when you must act for others–your family, perhaps your community–and you must be ready. What you have done to reach this milestone today is part of that preparation. So take from all the books you have read, all the lessons you have learned, the certain knowledge that one day, any day, you must be bold, have courage, and walk through a door that leads to opportunity for others.”

-- Vivian Malone Jones (class of 1965), in her commencement speech to the UA class of 2000

June 11 marks the anniversary of the successful integration of The University of Alabama. It was on that day in 1963 that Vivian Malone and James Hood registered for classes in Foster Auditorium. On that day, all eyes were on our campus, witnessing both a "stand" and more importantly a profound and bold act of courage.

Two short years later, Ms. Malone graduated from The University of Alabama, and featured above is a page from the 1965 University of Alabama yearbook, the Corolla with her senior picture, along with thirty-one of her classmates (she is the face in the third row from the top and in the third column from the left). It's impossible to measure just what went it took to be just another face on a page in that yearbook. Ms. Malone's being "just another senior" in the graduating class of 1965, forty-four short years ago, is something worth recognizing, pondering, commemorating.

The entire 1965 Corolla (volume 73) is available online through our digital program and was made possible by Shirley Dowling McCrary as part of the
University Libraries' Corolla Digital Initiative.

In addition, a full run (1893-present) of the Corollas are available to browse in the Hoole Library's Gandrud Reading Room. An exhibit of Corollas is currently on display in Gorgas Library on the 2nd floor in the Pearce foyer. If you are interested in sponsoring the digitization of a Corolla, please contact us.

A Night (to remember) at the Opry, June 11, 1949

Hank Williams Country Music Folio
Acuff-Rose Music, Nashville, Tennessee, 1948
From the Wade Hall Sheet Music Collection

It's hard to believe that the musical icon and Alabama native Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953) was only twenty-nine years old when he passed away. He left a catalog behind that a performer who lived one hundred years would envy.

June 11, 1949 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Hank Williams' very first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, where he performed two of his many, many legendary hits, Lovesick Blues and Mind your Own Business.

Here's a taste of his magic on the Opry stage -- a little bit grainy, but you get the idea.

The Hoole Special Collections Library has a significant collection of sheet music and sound recordings from Alabama's myriad of musical royalty. The Hoole Library also has significant holdings including published and manuscript materials by authors and scholars who explore Alabama's rich musical history. In 2005, the Hoole Library hosted one such author, Alabama native Paul Hemphill, whose book Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams (Viking, 2005) was featured in the NYTimes Book Review (written by none other than Garrison Keillor) the very week he came to the Hoole Library!

Flier from Paul Hemphill talk, 2005.
A small exhibit of Hank Williams materials was featured
in conjunction with this event at the Hoole Library.

Hank Williams is without a doubt a songwriting and performing legend. He established himself in an all-too-brief life as a pioneer and inspiration for generations to come, and is considered one of the most important songwriters of the 20th century. Not only does his name live on with his son, daughter and grandchildren, who all work as professional musicians, but his songs live on with countless covers, tributes, and homages to his unmistakable style.