Civil Rights, Wrongs and Big #8216;C#039;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2006

A veteran reporter and columnist who has covered everything from the struggle for civil rights to the University of Alabama's biggest little fan will be in town next Wednesday.

Alvin Benn, long-time reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser, will be at the Greenville-Butler County Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3.

Benn will be on hand to sign copies of his newly penned autobiography, &#8220REPORTER: Covering Civil Rights…and Wrongs in Dixie.”

&#8220My autobiography was pretty much a work in progress – I had thought about doing one for years, but didn't really get started until 2000,” Benn said.

That was the year the reporter was the &#8220prize” in a newspaper contest, in which readers were asked to write in 25 words or less which reporter they would most like to take to lunch.

When the co-owner of New South Books in Montgomery, Randall Williams, won the contest, the business owner encouraged Benn to write his life's story.

&#8220So that's what I did,” the veteran reporter said.

&#8220REPORTER” begins at a Klu Klux Klan rally at Chickasaw State Park in 1965 (&#8220the longest night of my career”) and is filled with stories of celebrity interviews, murder trials and even some stories quite close to home.

The hostage situation at the county courthouse, the recent shooting incident at the motel, Russ Feingold's visit to Greenville and the &#8220continued good deeds of Miss Bobbie (Gamble)” are some of the local event and people highlighted in the book.

&#8220And of course, Big C (Colin McGuire). I drove over early one morning to sit in on his sports talk show,” Benn said.

While he has written about some controversial and tragic topics, the reporter said the most satisfying part of his job has been &#8220recognizing the good deeds and works of average people.”

Bobbie Gamble, who has read the book, calls it a &#8220very interesting and well-written story.”

&#8220I know Alvin has many fans of his writing in the area and I hope they will stop in next Wednesday to meet him and get a copy of this excellent book,” Gamble said.