Professional Learning Multimedia Lesson Plans Personal Workspace Site Search ALEXville Learning Activities Home Courses of Study


Alabama's Civil War: Researching and Writing "Selma: A Novel of the Civil War"

Loading the player ...

cover image

Download list:

This podcast is part of the series: ArchiTreats: Food for Thought


Val L. McGee


Alabama Department of Archives and History


In Val L. McGee's new book, Selma: A Novel of the Civil War, hope is born of tragedy. Join us as McGee presents, "Alabama's Civil War: Researching and Writing Selma: A Novel of the Civil War." This ‘Bonus' ArchiTreats: Food for Thought presentation was held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

The drama in Selma: A Novel of the Civil War is taken primarily from the pages of Alabama newspapers published in the early 1860s, available only through the reference room of the Alabama Archives. Selma also reflects research in more than 250 slave cases decided by the Alabama Supreme Court from 1819 to 1865 as published in the state Supreme Court's Alabama Reports. In this presentation McGee will share the historical research which informs almost every page of this novel and he will discuss the process of writing a historical novel.

Reviewer Dr. Norwood Kerr noted that, "Selma is especially vivid in describing the pre-war ‘Queen City of the Black Belt.'... Moderate unionists, fire-eating secessionists, and free and enslaved blacks - Judge McGee gives voice to all with both precision and compassion."

Val McGee is a past president of the Alabama Historical Association and the Friends of the Alabama Archives He is the author of Claybank Memories: A History of Dale County, Alabama; The Origins of Fort Rucker; and A Cross Above: A History of the First United Methodist Church of Ozark, Alabama. He served as an infantry officer at Camp Rucker and in Europe during World War II. An attorney by profession, he was an Alabama trial judge from 1981 to 1993. Selma is his first novel.

This ‘Bonus' ArchiTreats is presented by the Alabama Department of Archives and History.


Length: 54:12

Content Areas: Social Studies

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

[SS2010] US10 (10) 13: Summarize major legislation and court decisions from 1800 to 1861 that led to increasing sectionalism, including the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Acts, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision. [A.1.a., A.1.c., A.1.e., A.1.f., A.1.g., A.1.i., A.1.j.]


Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
Best of the Web