SYLACAUGA, Ala. – On Wednesday, Oct. 3, interested adults are invited to join Scotty Kirkland from the Alabama Department of Archives and History for his presentation, “Let the Dirt Fly: Alabamians and the Panama Canal.”

The Panama Canal, an artificial fifty-one mile waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, was considered a marvel of 20th century engineering.  The canal was built as a conduit for maritime trade as a “path between the seas,” and it can be viewed as a testimonial to the work-ethic and ingenuity of many Alabamians.

Many of the names of Alabamians in Kirkland’s program will seem familiar, including those of Senator John Tyler Morgan, William Sibert, and Dr. William Gorgas, but a search of employment records and dozens of newspapers in both Panama and Alabama, found young engineers from Alabama Polytechnic Institute, sharp businessmen from Birmingham’s steel mills, and guys straight off the farm looking for new opportunities.

Scotty E. Kirkland, the exhibits and publications coordinator at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, holds degrees in history and political science from Troy University and the University of South Alabama. His awards received for work on the history of Alabama and the Modern South are numerous.

Kirkland’s professional service extends to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; the Alabama Humanities Foundation; the Alabama Historical Association; The Alabama Review; and the Alabama Heritage MagazineHe is the author or co-author of three books. He lives in Wetumpka with his wife and two children.

“You Must Remember This,the fall Adult Brown Bag Lecture Series, is sponsored by SouthFirst Bank. The Hickory Street Café helps provide refreshments beginning at 11:00 a.m., and the program beginning promptly at 12:00 in the Harry I. Brown Auditorium. For more information, call (256) 249-0961 or visit the library’s website.

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