Samford University Library Samford University

University Library Exhibits and Events

» Stay up-to-date with our Library News Blog



Live @ the Library

Randall Williams

Join us Homecoming weekend for The Crimson: My Time as Editor. NewSourth Books Editor-in-Chielf Randall Williams to present. Presentation to include screening of Another Voice documentary by Samford Professor, Jon Clemmensen. The University Library will host a reception after Mr. Williams' presentation. All are invited to attend.

Event Date
October 13, 2012
9:00 am

Live at the Library
Main Reading Room

About the Speaker

Randall Williams

Speaker, Randal Williams

Randall Williams is a writer, editor, publication designer and book publisher. He has been a writer and editor for magazines and newspapers—including The Birmingham News, Alabama Journal, Southern Exposure, Southern Changes, The Lafayette Gazette, Thomasville Times-Enterprise, Montgomery and The Eclectic Observer—in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. He is skilled and knowledgeable in all editorial and production aspects of periodicals and books. His articles have been published in more than 200 newspapers and magazines, and in several anthologies and literary and historical journals. He is the author, coauthor or editor of five books on Southern history and culture.

For approximately 10 years, Williams was associated with the Southern Poverty Law Center as an employee and board member. He produced newspapers, magazines, reports and books for the center, and supervised the scripting and filming of an Oscar-nominated documentary movie. He also conducted civil and criminal investigations, and assisted staff attorneys in trials and research. In 1981, he became the founding director of the center's Klanwatch Project, an effort to counteract the then-resurgent activities of the Ku Klux Klan and similar hate groups.

In 1986, started the Black Belt Communications Group and a magazine, Montgomery! In 1989, he sold his interest in the magazine to concentrate on the increasing volume of publication design and production at the Black Belt Communications Group. He also launched a weekly newspaper (The Eclectic Observer; sold in 1993), and began to publish books under the imprint of the Black Belt Press. In 1996, Black Belt (now River City Publishing) acquired the Washington, D.C.–based imprints of Elliott & Clark Publishing and Starrhill Press. In February 2000, Williams cofounded (with publisher Suzanne La Rosa) NewSouth, Inc., another book publishing company, where he is editor-in-chief. As of 2011, Williams has written, edited, designed and/or published more than 450 books, more than any other general trade book editor and publisher in Alabama history.

In 2006, Williams was selected by the Alabama Department of Archives and History as a consultant to serve as editor for The Alabama Guide, a book on the State of Alabama commissioned by Governor Bob Riley. He also created, equipped and hired the staff for a new publications department for the Department of Archives and History. This part-time consultancy ran through January 2009.

From 1978 to the early 1990s, Williams also had a long-standing working relationship with the Southern Regional Council of Atlanta, Ga., for which he served as an editor of Southern Changes magazine, and conducted occasional writing and research projects. He was a senior associate producer, interviewer and writer on the council's award-winning Will the Circle Be Unbroken documentary radio series. He is a former board executive committee member of the Center for Democratic Renewal (formerly the National Anti-Klan Network) of Atlanta, Ga., and served that body as a consultant for publishing in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1979, he served as a staff member of the Institute for Southern Studies in Chapel Hill, N.C.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Improvement Association (which formed in 1955 to conduct the Montgomery Bus Boycott), a former member of the board of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and a past president and board member of the Publishers Association of the South. He was also a founding member of the Alabama Writers' Forum and served on the organization's board in its early years.

Williams, 60, has two sons. He is a former member of the City of Montgomery Architectural Review Board, a past president of the Cottage Hill Foundation and the Capri Community Film Society (an organization he founded), a member of the boards of the Fitzgerald Museum and the E. D. Nixon Foundation, a graduate of Leadership Montgomery, and a charter member of the Friendly Supper Club. In 2006, he was Time magazine's Person of the Year.

Williams was born and raised in Chambers County, Alabama, and graduated from LaFayette High School, where he was a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and lettered in three sports. In 1970, he enrolled at Samford University, eventually becoming editor of the student newspaper. He left four credits short of a degree after a censorship dispute with the school president in 1974. He was named to the university's Department of Journalism and Mass Communication Wall of Fame in 2009. Williams was readmitted as a scholarship student in 2010 and graduated in 2011.

Presentation to include screening of Another Voice Documentary by Samford Professor

Speaker, Randal Williams

Jon Clemmensen came to Samford in 1985 to re-establish a journalism and mass communication program that had been dormant for more than a decade. He served as chair of the department for 12 years before returning to full-time teaching in the late '90s.

He came to Samford following a three-year stint at the University of Florida, where he taught upper-level journalism courses and served as statewide director of the Florida Scholastic Press Association. He moved to Florida from the University of South Carolina, where he taught print journalism for several years. He initially served as the director of student media—overseeing the student newspaper, yearbook, FM radio station and literary/art magazine. He earned his doctorate while at South Carolina. The University of South Carolina hired him from the Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J., where he spent four years as a reporter and assistant city editor/business and finance.

Raised in New Jersey, Clemmensen has an undergraduate degree in history from Rutgers University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He has been a professional summer intern at Fox 6 TV (twice), Intermark Advertising and Vazda Studios in Birmingham. Previously, he was a professional summer intern at the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla. He was named the 1991 Communicator of the Year by the Greater Birmingham chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

He was the 1999–2000 recipient of Samford's George Macon Award for outstanding performance as a teacher, counselor and friend to students.

Contact Eric Allen, or 726-2846, for more information.

Live @ the Library is a Free and Open to the Public Event. Convo Credit Available for Students.

Do you have a collection to exhibit?

» Read our Exhibition Space policy and procedures [pdf]

Rushton Memorial Carillon
Community News
Special Collection Treasure Chest SUL Government Documents Blog Special Collection on Flickr Join us on Facebook Samford Univerity Library News