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Alabama's Storyteller

by Erin Z. Bass

On June 12, Alabama lost its beloved storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet Kathryn. I first heard about her while on a tour of rural Alabama a few years ago. Our guide, Linda Vice, told some of Kathryn’s stories to us and even took us by her house in Selma, but the storyteller wasn’t home. At the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum in Thomasville, we learned more about her life and legacy in the community.

Many of you know we’re working on a Southern Literary Trail application here at Deep South, and the museum definitely made our list of literary sites. I’d like to share our app entry on the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum as a tribute to her today and hope you’ll all click here to listen to Kathryn talk about her experience with ghosts on YouTube.

A Tribute to Alabama’s Storyteller

Born in Selma, AL, and raised in nearby Thomasville, Kathryn Tucker Windham is known as “Alabama’s Storyteller.” Windham got her start at the town newspaper reviewing movies and eventually went to work for the Selma Times-Journal, where she won several awards for her writing and photography.

Locally, she’s know for her ghost stories though. Based on a friendly ghost named Jeffery who took up residence in the Windham house in the 1960s, her stories were published in a book titled, “13 Alabama ghosts and Jeffery” and have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Windham is also founder of the Alabama Tale Tellin’ Festival.

Opened June 1, 2003, in celebration of Windham’s 85th birthday, the Thomasville campus of Alabama Southern Community College is home to the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum. Visitors can see her personal papers and manuscripts, as well as a sculpture of her by local folk artist Charlie Lucas

The museum is located on the Alabama Southern campus just South of Thomasville. It is free to visit and open Mon-Thurs: 7:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Fri: 7:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; Sat: 8 a.m.-noon; and Sun: 2–6 p.m.

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