Held at the Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County, the presentation was followed by an autograph session for Professor-Politician: The Biography of Alabama Congressman Glen Browder, a 257-page paperback on the life of the man who represented a local legislative district in Montgomery (1982-86), the state’s 3rd District later in Washington (1989-96) and with a stint as Alabama Secretary of State in between (1987-89).
Certain, its author, is a former Anniston Star journalist who undertook the project as a master’s degree thesis with the intent that it would eventually be published.
Browder is currently Professor Emeritus in political science and American democracy at Jacksonville State University.
Browder opened his remarks by saying the topic from his political life that elicits the greatest number of questions from the public is the relationship he had with Alabama Gov. George Wallace.
It was, in a word, “good.”
Browder explained that because, as a political scientist by profession, he was keen to attempt reforms in Alabama’s government and public education, and because Wallace “wanted to do a lot of good things” to try to atone for a demagogic past, the two men worked well together.
“We developed a very good relationship,” Browder said, both personally and as he worked with the governor’s staff members.
On the question of racial issues in Southern politics, Browder said race over the decades has moved from “the” driving force in Southern politics to “a” driving force. He discounted current political scenarios prefaced by someone’s accusation that someone else “played the race card.”
The race card, in Browder’s view, “was played hundreds of years ago when we brought slaves into this country.”
Today, he said, we’re dealing with that legacy.
Although that frequently entailed violent or demeaning confrontation decades ago, in more recent times some black and white Southern leaders have been able to de-racialize issues.
“We cut deals,” Browder said, which resulted in “quiet, practical, bi-racial progress.”
Bill Edwards can be reached at (256) 235-3542, or firstname.lastname@example.org