logo



Distinguished author, scholar to lecture on ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Staff Reports • Updated Sep 15, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Wayne Flynt, one of the most recognized and honored scholars of Southern history, economics, politics and religion, will deliver a lecture at Cumberland University, focusing on the Harper Lee classic novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” 

The event will be Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. in the Bill and June Heydel Auditorium at the Fine Arts Building. 

Flynt regularly visited Lee, who was a friend for more than 35 years. At her death, he delivered her eulogy at her request. Flynt has actively devoted his life to bringing the issues of history and poverty and their social impact to the forefront of the public’s consciousness.

“Publication of Harper Lee’s first novel, ‘Go Set A Watchman,’ in July, 2015, only eight months before her death at age 89, became one of the most celebrated media events of the past half century in American letters. Many who read the novel did so conditioned by the murder of nine African-Americans at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C. a few months earlier. Many Southerners groused that Harper should not have torn the scab off the wound of Southern racism, a sin long expunged. Many Northern readers could not forgive Jean Louise Finch for her forgiveness and reconciliation with her ‘racist’ father.  All these readers missed the theological and generational essence of the novel and its origins in Wesleyan Methodism and the wisdom of C.S. Lewis. It is at the intersection of theology, literature and the various ‘passages’ in all our lives that I find the meaning of the story,” said Flynt.

Flynt is professor emeritus of the department of history at Auburn University and is the author of 12 books, including the Pulitzer Prize-nominated, “Poor But Proud: Alabama’s Poor Whites.” His book, “Alabama in the Twentieth Century,” was awarded the Anne B. and James B. McMillan Prize. In 2004, his book, “Dixie’s Forgotten People: The South’s Poor Whites,” was reissued. 

Flynt’s books have won many awards, some multiple times, including: the Lillian Smith Award for Non-Fiction; the Alabama Library Association Award for Non-Fiction; Outstanding Academic Book from the American Library Association and the James F. Sulzby Jr. Book Award. He is co-author of “Alabama: A History of the Deep South State,” which was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 

He was inducted into the University of Alabama’s Communication Hall of Fame, which honors communication personalities who have brought lasting fame to the state. He is editor-in-chief of the new online Encyclopedia of Alabama. 

Flynt was educated at Samford University, formerly Howard College and received an associate’s degree in business in 1961 and Florida State University, where he received a master’s degree in science in 1962 and doctorate in 1965.

There is no charge to attend the lecture for students, faculty, staff or the community. However, reservations are recommended by calling 615-547-1331 or by emailing magee@cumberland.edu.

Recommended for You