Program being produced about Sylacauga marble
by Emily Adams
A program is being produced about Sylacauga's marble by 'Discovering Alabama.' This scenic overlook at one of the marble quarries could be featured in the program.
SYLACAUGA – The story of Sylacauga’s marble is headed to the small screen, thanks in part to a recent grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

“Discovering Alabama,” an Emmy award-winning documentary series exploring Alabama’s natural history and heritage, was awarded a $17,500 grant from AHF to support production of a half-hour program featuring the city’s famous white stone.

According to an AHF press release, the film “will highlight the history, geology, economic and cultural importance of Sylacauga marble through the related aspects of Sylacauga’s local history, economy and culture, including the impressive marble artistry recently placed at Sylacauga City Hall and other works created in conjunction with the annual Sylacauga Magic of Marble Festival.”

In addition, it will feature the “beauty and appeal of the Sylacauga area (and) the significant marble quarries and industries in the area. Interviews will include experts and local residents discussing the many ways in which the human experience is influenced and processed through the local natural resource – marble.” The project began last month and will ultimately be broadcast on Alabama Public Television.

Hosted by Doug Phillips, “Discovering Alabama” has unearthed the rich history and current condition of the state’s natural resources for 28 years. On the show’s website, Phillips explains that a goal of the series is “to document this information for the citizens, communities, and schools of the state. But another concern of ‘Discovering Alabama’ is to highlight the state’s natural history in a context useful for planning,” he wrote.

“In looking to the future, we can sometimes benefit from the wisdom of the past,” Phillips said. “Native Americans knew well the meaning of the adage, ‘The nature of life is nature.’ ‘Discovering Alabama’ brings to you a remarkable realm of nature in hopes that this aspect of our heritage is aptly embraced and retained for generations yet to arrive.”

The series is a production of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, The University of Alabama in cooperation with the Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio, and Alabama Public Television.

“Discovering Alabama” was not the only project to benefit from an AHF grant this year. The Birmingham-based nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities received more grant requested than ever before and awarded $84,600 to humanities projects across Alabama, the press release stated.

Other major grants were:

• $15,000 to Alabama Public Television for its “Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement” initiative, which provides web-based field trips to historic places for middle and high school students.

• $1,600 to W.I.L.D. Alabama Association for Foreign Language Teachers in Huntsville

• $7,000 to Auburn University’s “Literature Changes Lives” Prison Arts initiative

• $5,500 to the Birmingham Museum of Art’s “Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward” Civil Rights Movement exhibition

• $4,000 to U.A. Frances S. Summersell Center for the Study of the South in Tuscaloosa to develop a multimedia project gathering runaway slave advertisements from the 19th century to the Civil War

• $3,000 to the Mobile Museum of Art for a citywide event celebrating John Cage’s birth and impact

• $5,000 to Weatherford Library in Red Bay for its “The Way We Worked” history exhibit

• $16,000 to Samford University for its “Who Speaks for Birmingham Now?” film telling the story of the 1961 CBS documentary “Who Speaks for Birmingham?”

• $2,000 to the Rights Multicultural Center in Tuskegee for its symposium bringing together remaining students who were involved in the desegregation of Alabama schools.

• $8,000 to Univeristy of Alabama Center for Public Television for “The Way We Worked: Stories from the Box,” a photo booth-type structure to videotape Alabamians from diverse backgrounds.

Mini-grants awarded were:

• $1,565 to Historic Chattahoochee Commission for “Creek Paths and Federal Roads: Russell County and the Making of the American South” panel symposium._

• $1,100 to the Shoals Interfaith Council in Florence for a public exhibit and performance about President Harry Truman and friend Eddie Jacobson.

• $1,290 to the Dothan Houston County Library System for a panel discussion on “Injustice Remembered.”

• $1,614 to Troy University at Dothan for the “Muslim Journeys” lecture series.

For more about AHF’s grant program and application process, go to www.alabamahumanities.org.

Contact Emily Adams at eadams@dailyhome.com.

© 2013