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HARTSELLE: WILLIAM BRADFORD HUIE

William Bradford Huie
           William Bradford Huie

If we're ever going to understand the South, we'll have to get our facts from men like Huie. From THE SATURDAY REVIEW, 1942.

William Bradford Huie wrote about his country without the burden of conventional ideas. He defied protocol to uncover the truth. A World War II veteran, Huie authored The Execution of Private Slovik, revealing the saga of the only American soldier executed for desertion since the Civil War and arousing the ire of Ike. President Eisenhower authorized Slovik's execution. Frank

Sinatra bought the film rights to Slovik but the Defense Department interceded and kept it off screens until 1975 when it became a successful TV movie.

Slovik was not Huie's first book. He propelled himself as a writer for the Birmingham Post in 1941 to national attention at The American Mercury with his

William Bradford Huie's home, Hartselle, Alabama.

William Bradford Huie's home

autobiographical Mud on the Stars that captured his Hartselle coming-of-age in fiction. At the height of his international fame as a journalist, novelist and news anchor for CBS, Huie returned to Hartselle in the late 1950s, coincidental to his success with The Americanization of Emily. He built a house for himself and another one for his parents on the corners of Day and Barkley, but the comforts of home in the picturesque northwestern Alabama town could not detour "Bill" Huie from controversy.

  Craftsman style home, Hartselle.
William Bradfor Huie (courtesy, Martha Huie).
William Bradford Huie Library, Hartselle, Alabama.
Hartselle Park.
 
 

Craftsman style home

William Bradford Huie
(Courtesy, Martha Huie)
William Bradford Huie Library

Hartselle Park

 

 

Because Hartselle was located near national events during the Civil Rights Movement, Huie became a reliable writer for national publications needing a fearless Southern reporter. He delivered the confession of the murderers of Emmett Till to the nation's press and authored Three Lives for Mississippi, the basis for the film Mississippi Burning. The UK edition of the book featured a forward by Rev. Martin Luther King. He also wrote The Klansman depicting a small southern town dominated by the Klan. And in 1967, the writer found a cross blazing on the front lawn. Writing until his death in 1986, Huie never abandoned his North Alabama home, even when controversy knocked on his own door.

Hartselle celebrates its connections to a writer who never compromised. In November 2006, the hospitable and civic-minded town named its public library in honor of William Bradford Huie where it displays a permanent exhibit of his work (wbhuie.wordpress.com). He is buried in the Hartselle City Cemetery with members of his family.

William Bradford Huie in Hawaii (Courtesy, Martha Huie).

William Bradford Huie in Hawaii
(Courtesy, Martha Huie)

 

  Downtown Hartselle.
William Bradford Huie (center) with his siblings in 1924 (Courtesy, Martha Huie).
Hartselle Train Depot.
 
 

Downtown Hartselle

William Bradford Huie (center) with his siblings in
1924 (Courtesy, Martha Huie)

Hartselle Train Depot

 

 

  Encyclopedia of Alabama

For more information on William Bradford Huie, link here to his listing in the Encyclopedia of Alabama supported by the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

> William Bradford Huie

Alabama Humanities Foundation  


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