His legacy continues to inspire many with the belief that a righteous cause can never be stopped.
I was privileged to be a colleague of Bailey’s from his earliest days as a young editorial page editor at the Shreveport Journal until his last summer spent in the Pascagoula River Basin describing the natural wonders of this special place.
Between these points of reference we were friends, and my admiration for his zest for goodness and life is not diminished by the passage of the decade since his sudden and unexpected death.
He had few peers as an editorialist, and could use the power of word, to hammer an idea into the clear exposition of a cause – whether for the equality of all people in the changing South or in defense of South Alabama’s environment.
But he could also paint the portrait of a time, or place, or a people in the most eloquent tones, evoking a sense of poetry.
He was a historian of the first rank, and he understood better than most, who we were, and the forces that shaped our national and regional character. Always he sought to touch the higher angels within, and to bring the best ideals to prevail in the constant debates that raged across the decades of his career.
Bailey was a diplomat at heart whose genteel manner and good humor helped to unite warring factions, but he did not compromise on the causes that mattered. And he was dedicated to the proposition that Alabama could not be its best until the matter of a just Constitution had been resolved.
He did not see that dream realized, but the purpose he brought to that battle, and the truth that he arrayed against the foe, lives on. Bailey’s voice resonates still across the years and is ever heard within those who continue to struggle in that cause.
He will always represent the very best of his beloved state and university and his memory is ever cherished.
Stan Tiner is vice president and executive editor of The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss.
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