Alumnus Awarded for Contributions to Southern Literature

From the March 2016 Desktop News | Due to the large contributions historian and alumnus Dr. Harvey Jackson III has made to the literature of the South, The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, along with the journalism department, recently honored him with the 2016 Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing.

“I grew up with a natural interest in history because I grew up around people who talked about history,” Jackson said.

And in the 50 years since Jackson graduated from UA with his master’s degree in history, he has authored, co-authored, or co-edited 15 books on Southern history, including The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera: An Insiders History of the Florida-Alabama Coast and Inside Alabama: A Personal History of My State.

“Hardy Jackson writes history as history is lived, not with static and rigid sentences but with warmth and grit and feeling,” said Rick Bragg, Cason Award selection committee member and a previous recipient of the award.

The award is named for Clarence Cason, who founded UA’s department of journalism in 1928. Each year, UA bestows the honor on a recipient with a strong connection to Alabama and whose writings have made a critical contribution to Southern journalism and literature.

“I read Clarence Cason’s 90° in the Shade at a very impressionable age,” Jackson said. “It was one of the first books that I read that really took a loving but hard look at Alabama. It was clear headed and well written, and it was kind of a revelation to me. So to get an award for non-fiction writing in that tradition really means a lot to me. I’ve tried to write like people like Cason.”

Jackson served on the editorial board of the Anniston Star, was the past president of the Alabama Association of Historians and the Alabama Historical Association, and retired from teaching at Jacksonville State University in 2013. He lives in Seagrove Beach, Florida.

Dr. Mark Nelson, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences said, “Hardy Jackson is a distinguished author who will join a strong network of past Cason winners who have contributed to literature and storytelling in the state of Alabama.”

“It’s an honor to be included on the list,” Jackson said.