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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.
Content Areas: Social Studies
Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:
[SS2010] ALA (4) 6: Describe cultural, economic, and political aspects of the lifestyles of early nineteenth-century farmers, plantation owners, slaves, and townspeople.
[SS2010] ALA (4) 7: Explain reasons for Alabama's secession from the Union, including sectionalism, slavery, states' rights, and economic disagreements.
[SS2010] USS5 (5) 11: Identify causes of the Civil War, including states' rights and the issue of slavery.
[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.]