Sec. John Merrill co-authors ‘Alabama: Bicentennial’ history book benefiting fourth-grade students


Special to the
Opelika Observer

Alabama Sec. of State John H. Merrill and co-author Tom Ward have released the history book “Alabama: The Bicentennial,” celebrating Alabama’s 200th anniversary of statehood in 2019.
Alabama: The Bicentennial celebrates more than 400 past and present Alabamians, including “athletes, authors, agriculture, artists, autos, achievers, aviation, armed forces, astronauts and advocates for freedom.”
Every school in Alabama that has a fourth-grade classroom will receive a complimentary copy. Seventy-five percent of book proceeds will be directed to the Friends of the Alabama Archives, a nonprofit auxiliary to the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The Friends organization will use the funds to sponsor fourth-grade field trips to the Archives by schools that otherwise lack financial resources for the trip. Although Secretary Merrill is the author of Alabama: The Bicentennial, he has not and will not receive compensation in any form.
“The great Rudyard Kipling once said, ‘If history were taught in the form of stories, it would not be forgotten,” Merrill said.
“When we encourage our students to read and tell these stories, we preserve the legacies of Alabama leaders of yesterday and today. When Tom and I started this project two years ago, we wanted to tie together the people, events, groups, and places that define the history in this state that we call home. Tom and I are so excited to release this book about a state and its people that are so special to us!”
The mission of Alabama 200 is to celebrate Alabama’s bicentennial to commemorate the stories of Alabama’s people, places and path to statehood.
Secretary Merrill would like to thank corporate sponsors like ALFA and the Alabama Power Company for generous donations, which help place books in every school in Alabama with fourth-grade classrooms. He would also like to thank Steve Murray, director of the Alabama Department of Archives & History, for making this project possible.
Alabama: The Bicentennial is available for purchase at the Alabama Department of Archives & History and It will soon be available in bookstores around the state.


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