Dr. English Wins Book Award

News Date
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Dr. Bertis D. English (photo credit: David Campbell/ASU).

History Professor, Dr. Bertis D. English, Wins Coveted Alabama Historical Association Book Award 

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU 

A professor in the University's department of History and Political Science, Dr. Bertis D. English, has been awarded the Clinton Jackson Coley Book Award, which is among the most important recognition bestowed upon an author by the Alabama Historical Association (AHA). 

His book, "Civil Wars, Civil Beings, and Civil Rights in Alabama's Black-Belt: A History of Perry County," received the Coley Award that is presented biennially to an author for the best book or pamphlet focusing on local historical concerns, including, but not limited to, the history of an Alabama community, town, county, or any institution therein, such as a church, business or other institutions. As a result of the pandemic, the 2023 award committee reviewed works published from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022, explained English, a native of Talladega County. 

"This award means a lot to me because it is an honor that is forthcoming from my scholarly peers who felt my work was worthy of recognition in the field of history and that makes it most important to me," English stated. "My book is essentially a different take on the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War and specifically Reconstruction in Perry County, Ala., which was as successful and peaceful as could be in an era consumed with violence and discrimination against African-Americans. While Perry County was not perfect, it was better than many other parts of the state." 


This book centers on bi-ethic excellence in the city of Marion, as well as in Perry County, and charts the early development of The Lincoln School, The Lincoln Normal School and ultimately the institution that is known today as Alabama State University. English's book has won several other accolades, including the 2021 C. Calvin Smith-Wali R. Kharif Book Award of the Southern Conference on African - American Studies, Incorporated, as well as the 2023 Anna Julia Cooper and C. L. R. James Award of the National Council for Black Studies. 

"I feel my book is important for those interested in either Alabama history or the history of Alabama State University because it helps to set the record straight about the development of ASU, and it shines a brighter spotlight on the University's founders," said English. 

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.