November Spotlight

Alabama Living Magazine

AREA publishes The Best of ‘Hardy Jackson’s Alabama’

Just in time for holiday giving, the Alabama Rural Electric Association and Alabama Living are publishing a collection of 48 of the best columns by Hardy Jackson, popular columnist and author of “Hardy Jackson’s Alabama.”  Jackson, professor emeritus of history at Jacksonville State University, recently retired from writing his monthly column which first appeared in the magazine in February 2014 and ran every other month. In 2017, his columns began appearing monthly and were accompanied by custom illustrations by artist Dennis Auth. 

Perhaps more than any other portion of the magazine, Jackson’s column attracted a large fan base and prompted numerous letters to the editor from readers who identified with his nostalgic, humorous take on life in the South. Jackson won several national awards for his columns, including several from the Cooperative Communicators Association and two national first place Willies Awards from the Statewide Editors Association, one  for his November 2020 column, “Appreciating veterans and anchovies,” and another for his November  2019 column, “The Box.” Both are included in the book. 

The book can be ordered online for $21.95, which includes postage and handling.

You may also send a check for $21.95 for each copy, payable to Alabama Living, to Hardy Jackson Book, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL  36124. Orders must be received by Dec. 8 to ensure delivery by Christmas. Supply is limited.

New Archives exhibit focuses on Rosenwald Schools

A new temporary exhibit documents the efforts to expand educational opportunities to rural Black children in the first half of the 20th century. “History Lives On: Preserving Alabama’s Rosenwald Schools” at the Museum of Alabama is a collaboration between the Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction and the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The exhibit will be on display through May 2024.

In the early 20th century, Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck and Co., used his extensive financial resources to transform the landscape of public education in the rural, segregated South. Rosenwald collaborated with Tuskegee Institute President Booker T. Washington to pilot a community-matched grant program to fund the construction of six schools in central Alabama. Between 1917 and 1932, nearly 5,000 new schools were built in 15 Southern states, including more than 400 in Alabama. 

While some of the schools today have found new life as community centers or church facilities, most have disappeared from the landscape. Visitors to the exhibit will learn not only about the individuals who started the schools and the buildings themselves, but also about local communities across Alabama who worked to raise funds and to build and sustain the schools over generations.

For more information, visit

AARP poll finds veterans unaware of new benefits

Nearly two-thirds of veterans are unaware that they can receive free assistance with Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act – or PACT Act – benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a new AARP survey. 

The new law expands access to VA health care benefits for more than five million veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances. Survivors of deceased veterans are also eligible to receive these benefits.

To learn how to apply for PACT Act benefits, visit For these resources and more information on AARP’s support for veterans and military families, visit

‘Share Your Smile’ contest open to Alabama children

The Alabama Department of Public Health is sponsoring the 2024 “Share Your Smile With Alabama” photo contest for third-grade students living in Alabama, or children 8 to 10 years of age who are homeschooled. This free contest is an opportunity for Alabama parents and guardians to showcase their child’s smile. 

One boy and one girl will be selected as the grand prize winners and will be invited with their parents to attend a live news conference at ADPH in January. Winners will also be highlighted in ADPH marketing campaigns to promote good oral health for children. Deadline for entries is Nov. 30, 2023.

For more information or to enter the contest, visit


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