12/9/2010 - Two faculty members to have book signing
By Michael J. Brooks
Judson College will honor two of her recently-published faculty at a book signing on Dec. 9.
Registrar Eleanor Drake will sign copies of "Images of America: Perry County," published in November by Arcadia Publishing, and artist-in-residence Dr. Billie Jean Young will sign copies of "Now, How You Do? A Memoir" published by the Westry Wingate Group last April.
Drake's book is a pictorial history of Perry County from the 1820's until about 1970.
Drake is well-known as a local historian, but says she has no idea how the publisher found her.
"They contacted me about doing this project in their ‘Images of America' series," she said.
"There are 73 Alabama books in this series including cities, counties, Auburn football, baseball in Birmingham and other topics. It was fascinating to hunt and dig and find the right Perry County photos and try to discover the stories they told."
Drake said her photos are arranged chronologically, but due to space limitations she had to pick and choose.
"I'd like to get more photos and do a second volume!" she said.
Drake grew up Eleanor Compton in Greensboro. She attended Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo) for two years and the University of Alabama for one semester before graduating from Judson in 1986.She majored in psychology at Judson and earned certification in social sciences. She taught history at Judson during the short term of 1987 and then began a career spanning two decades and several jobs at the college.
Drake has been active in the Marion and national chapters of the Judson Alumnae Association, the Perry County Historical and Preservation Society, the Gamma Phi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, DAR and in the Alabama division of the Daughters of the Confederacy. She enjoys history and genealogical research.
"Working at Judson keeps me going," Drake said. "It exercises my brain cells and keeps me young. I enjoy my work and certainly wouldn't want to stay home and keep house!"
Young's book features the correspondence of her mother, Susie M. Young, now 90, and offers insight into the lives of African-Americans in Alabama's Black Belt region a generation ago.
"I planned this book many years ago," Young said. "I always knew what mama had to say was important and her letters were always precious to me."
"My mother wrote everybody-children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She didn't want to lose any of her seven children to the larger world, so she wrote to us about everything and encouraged us to write, too."
The elder Young was 36 when her husband died and she had to take on new responsibilities. The letters tell of her struggles in raising her children, handling money, taking care of farm business and seeking proper healthcare.
Billie Jean Young said it was an emotional journey to pull out the letters and type them for publication.
"I never noticed until I began typing that mama didn't use punctuation in her letters," Young said. "She wrote 'stream of consciousness.' She didn't waste time trying to figure out where to put commas and periods! She had these wonderful thoughts to put on paper."
Billie Jean Young graduated from Judson in 1974 and received the Outstanding Alumna Award in 2002. She later earned her law degree from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law. She is the author of two collections of poetry: "Fear Not the Fall," an audiocassette, "My Name Is Black" and is perhaps best known for her one-woman play, "Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light."
Young was recognized as a creative writer and received a MacArthur Fellows Award in 1995.
The book signing will be in the Gladys Hale Dunkin Parlors in Jewett Hall. Books will be available for purchase.
For more information contact Amy Rowan at 334.683.5104.
*Article courtesy of the Judson College Public Relations Department.