The Black Belt Hall of Fame will host its induction ceremony and dinner honoring three prominent figures in the region’s history on Friday, March 8, at the University of West Alabama’s Bell Conference Center.
Dr. Robert Brown, Dorothy Altman “Tut” Riddick and the late Josie Winifred “Winnie” McGlamery will be honored at the ceremony. All three inductees have each devoted their life’s work to the Black Belt region, both for its advancement and preservation.
The Black Belt Hall of Fame seeks to recognize and honor those associated with the Black Belt who have had a positive impact on the region, the State, the nation, and the world through contributions in art, business, education, industry, medicine, politics, and science.
Center for the Study of the Black Belt Director Valerie Burnes said, “We are pleased to induct Dr. Robert Brown, Dorothy Altman “Tut” Riddick and the late Josie Winifred “Winnie” McGlamery into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. They have done amazing work to make life better for the citizens of the Black Belt, and we bestow this honor upon them to celebrate their achievements and all that is possible because of them.”
Dr. Robert Brown
Born in Greene County, Dr. Robert Brown has lived in the Black Belt his entire life, except for his service, beginning at age 17, in the US Army in WWII. As part of the 761st “Black Panther” Tank Battalion, which General George Patton noted was the first group of “Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army,” Brown was sent to Normandy and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge, He was also part of a force that liberated a concentration camp. After graduating from Alabama A&M and teaching in the Black Belt area, Brown returned to Greene County to serve as the principal at his former high school. He also began to work for the advancement of the Civil Rights struggle in the area. In 1970, he became one of the first African Americans in the nation to be hired as a county school superintendent. He served in this capacity until 1980. Since that time, Brown has continued to work for the health and welfare of the citizens of Greene County. Dr. Brown taught himself to play golf so that he would have access to those with influence in the county. In 2006, the public golf course was renamed the Dr. Robert Brown Double Eagle Golf Course, in honor of a man who has done so much to ensure the freedom of all Americans through his service on the battle field, his work in education, and his fight for Civil Rights.
Josie Winifred “Winnie” McGlamery
Educated at Johns Hopkins, McGlamery was the first female paleontologist in Alabama. Originally hired to work as a librarian for the Geological Survey of Alabama, she soon became the Survey’s paleontologist and was given the task of examining all of the well samples from petroleum sites. She logged every sample cut in Alabama beginning in 1932 and until 1961 she was the only person that had examined every well sample in the Survey’s collection, including the samples from the Gilbertown oil field in Choctaw County, the first commercially productive oil field in the state. She also accumulated and labeled many of the fossils in the Survey’s collection, a majority of which came from the Black Belt including Clarke, Greene and Marengo Counties. McGlamery is credited with the discovery of the fossil outcropping of Little Stave Creek in Clarke County, one of the best middle Eocene sites in the world. Winnie McGlamery brought the wealth of fossils in the Black Belt to the attention of the world, while proving what women could accomplish in the sciences.
Dorothy Altman “Tut” Riddick
A native of York, Ala., Dorothy Altman “Tut” Riddick attended both Huntingdon College and Livingston University, completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Alabama, where she was active in both theater and debate. Following college, Riddick moved to Mobile and taught art and literature at Glendale Elementary School. She is a painter, collector, writer, art enthusiast, and patron of the arts. In 1985, Riddick combined her love of art and of the Black Belt region when she led the effort to establish the Coleman Center for the Arts in York. Riddick developed the Center in an abandoned building to bring economic activity and creativity to her hometown. The Center offers gallery shows of Black Belt artwork, educational programs for the community, and public art projects. A passionate worker for social justice, Riddick sees art as a catalyst for social change and proved to York that the town, its people, and the art of the Black Belt was worth showcasing.
The cost for the induction ceremony dinner is $15 per plate. RSVP Valerie Burnes
at (205) 652-3829. Mail payments for the ceremony dinner to the Center for the Study of the Black Belt, UWA Station 45, Livingston, AL, 35470.