A very special congratulations to beloved native daughter, University of Alabama alum, and friend to the UA Libraries, Nelle Harper Lee. On November 5, 2007, Ms. Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. The image here is from a January 2006 NY Times article by Ginia Bellafante on the To Kill a Mockingbird High School Essay Contest sponsored by UA’s Honors College. The photograph was taken in the lobby of the Hoole Library (and features my arm along with Ms. Lee’s visage!). Note the Tiffany stained glass window in the background. (photo by Dana Mixer for the NY Times –http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/30/books/30lee.html)
Ms. Lee was honored along with Gary S. Becker, an economist and 1992 Nobel Prize winner; Oscar Elías Bisce, a human rights advocate imprisoned in Cuba; Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute; Benjamin L. Hooks, former executive director of the NAACP; Illinois Republican Henry J. Hyde; and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, first woman elected president of an African nation.
Ms. Lee attended The University of Alabama from 1945-1949. Her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, received the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and it continues to captivate the minds and hearts of people all over the world. Several editions of To Kill a Mockingbird are of course included in the Hoole Library’s Alabama Collection.