Selma Author to speak at Lunch at the Library March 2

Published 8:31 am Monday, February 27, 2023

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By  Becky Nichols

Special to The Selma Times-Journal

Plan to join us for our ‘Lunch at the Library on Thursday’, March 2 to welcome Selmian, Willie Mae Brown, author of My Selma: True Stories of a Southern Childhood at the Height of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Willie Mae is a long-time library friend. She tells her story in an honest and straightforward way. As a child of the civil rights era, her book is about growing up in Selma in the 1960’s.

She left Alabama at the age of seventeen in 1970 to start a new life in Brooklyn, New York, where she worked for the New York Telephone Company until 2003. A visual artist as well as an author, she began writing stories about her childhood in 2012 and reading them in public in 2015.

Of those memories, she writes:

“Everyone has his or her memories of a place and time when and where they lived. Everyone experiences different things in their towns, cities, and states. No two people will have the exact same memories. “

The uniqueness of Willie Mae’s story is that it is told from the standpoint of her 12-year-old adolescent self and her experiences with her sister and loving family. It is the portrait of a family with all the issues and experiences that go into day-to-day life.

It becomes the larger story of a young person growing up in Selma and coming of age in turbulent and changing times. That larger story eventually envelopes her and sets her on a life path of discovery and meaning.

When she hears Dr. Martin Luther King speak at a church rally, Willie Mae begins to realize the power of his words and takes them to her heart as her guiding light.

“So surreal was his voice which mesmerized me and the charisma of the time, with the unfolding of events and this giant of a man stepping forward to bring justice at any cost to the people, hypnotized me. I grew limp and trembled under the sound of his voice. His voice was like a dream, a dream that I dreamt each day while listening to the radio.”

We are pleased and proud to welcome Willie Mae Brown as she comes home to Selma on Thursday. The event begins at noon and the program starts at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for lunch are $15 with reservations made by calling the library at 874- 1725 or email