News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2006


Rename Hartselle library in memory of Bill Huie

Literary critics may not put William Bradford Huie's volume of works up there with those of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Erskine Caldwell or William Faulkner.

But like those famous writers, the way the Hartselle native saw society helped weave a picture of the America in which he lived.

Controversial and provocative, Bill Huie sometimes paid for information, an act that he defended:

"A lot of people resent using informers," he once said. "I don't recommend it. I just don't know any better way." Many times in his career he reminded his detractors that the FBI commonly paid for information.

It is time that Mr. Huie's hometown, where he is buried, recognizes his works. That's why former City Council member Andy Vest began the effort to have the city's public library named in Mr. Huie's memory.

The library board will meet Monday at 5 p.m. at which time it may have a recommendation on which the City Council could act.

His first novel "Mud on the Stars," which told the story of a young North Alabama boy growing up during the Great Depression and events leading up to World War II, didn't go over well with some Hartselle residents a half century ago. Neither did his writings about the civil rights movement and the Ku Klux Klan during more recent times.

Even though eight of his books became movies, some people sort of spewed out his name to register disapproval. But those days are long gone. Hartselle has an opportunity to celebrate the genius of Mr. Huie, who died in 1986.

Thus far, the most stated opposition to renaming the library is because of the cost associated with the change; however, that cost has not been detailed and is surely minimal compared to the recognition.

Hopefully, the City Council will honor the effort that went into his 23 novels and agree to the change.

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