Author ‘lives her dreams’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Billie Jean Young of Pennington, author of the newly published &uot;Fear Not the Fall: Poems and a Two-Act Drama&uot; (NewSouth Books), was hosted Sunday by the mayor, town council and public library board at the White Hall Municipal Complex. Young read, performed and recited from her new book for 45 minutes, and then signed books while chatting with the audience. Young is a former resident of Selma.

Glenda Williams of Montgomery who has coordinated Young’s book signings since last November’s release says the responses both to the author and the book have been overwhelmingly positive.

She said that Ella Bell, member of the Alabama State Board of Education who introduced Young at the White Hall event, spoke of Young’s bravery

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in following her dream: &uot;You know, a lot of us say we want to do something, but Billie Jean Young lives her dreams. She is a wonderful actress and a great writer as she has proven to us in her new book, ‘Fear Not the Fall.’&uot;

Young’s book is a collection of poems and the first written version of her one-woman dramatization of the life of voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, &uot;Fannie Hamer: This Little Life.&uot; Young has performed the show more than 600 times on four continents over the last 20 years.

Young herself has overcome many obstacles in her own life.

She is a graduate of Selma University and was the first African-American to graduate from Judson College. She was the second black woman to earn a law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law.

She began her career with the

Southwest Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative Association, moved to Washington, D.C.

and launched the Southern Rural Women’s Network from Jackson, Miss. She is an adjunct professor at Mississippi State University-Meridian where she teaches &uot;Theatre for Teachers.&uot;

Young has won many awards and honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement, Lucy Terry Prince Unsung Heroine Award and Essence Magazine’s Salute to the Decade’s Women of Achievement Award.

Young’s next book signing will be in Montgomery at the Rosa Parks Museum on Thursday, Feb. 19, following her 6:30 performance of her one-woman play.

For information, contact the Black History Committee at Troy State University at Montgomery (334) 241-8608.