Book celebrating Brewton-Parker's first 100 years published; author's book signing Feb. 5

MOUNT VERNON -- A book that celebrates Brewton-Parker College's first 100 years has been published and is available in the Brewton-Parker Campus Store.

"Brewton-Parker College: Triumph Over Adversity, the First One-Hundred Years" is authored by Ann C. Turner, director of the Fountain-New Library and college archivist at Brewton-Parker.

Turner will have a book signing Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Phillips Student Center foyer on the campus in Mount Vernon. Books may be purchased at the Campus Store in the Phillips Student Center for the signing, which will be from 3-5 p.m.

Through the 320-page volume, Turner chronicles the college's founding in 1904 as the Union Baptist Institute, a Baptist elementary and high school, and how the institution progressed to a junior college and eventually, to a senior college.

Turner organized the college's history chronologically and divided it into 14 chapters, arranged by presidential administration.

"The road was not easy, and the school was forced to overcome one crisis after another to survive, but the institution that now stands 100 years later is much stronger because of these challenges," Turner said.

"The thesis of this book is that Brewton-Parker is a survivor. It should have failed many times, but because of the Bold Vision, Proud Heritage and Christian Faith, we are still here after 100 years."

Turner outlined those three core characteristics of the college's success in the book's preface.

"The founders, the Rev. John Carter Brewton and Mr. Charles Benton Parker, had a BOLD VISION of an institution that would provide Christian education to the young people of south Georgia. This vision, adopted by countless others throughout the years, has provided the motivation to overcome adversity and ensure the school's survival.

"Because of the numerous challenges along the way, the institution has built a PROUD HERITAGE that encompasses not only strong academic principles, but is grounded in the history of the surrounding community as well.

"Finally, the college is celebrating its centennial anniversary because of the Grace of God. From its founding as a Baptist elementary and secondary school, the CHRISTIAN FAITH has guided the decisions made in the advancement of the institution. With God's continued Grace, the college will survive another century to continue its Christian purpose."

While condensing 100 years of history into a 320-page book, researching the project proved to be a long, tedious task.

Fortunately, much of the research was organized thanks to projects initiated in 1993 by Turner and her mother, Hilda Collins, through their respective positions at Brewton-Parker.

Collins was a research assistant in the development office and worked on collecting copies of Brewton-Parker news stories from the school's inception.

Turner said she and her mother gathered microfilm copies from the Montgomery County Courthouse. "We had our own microfilm reader at home, so we spent hours indexing any article on Brewton-Parker," she said.

At the same time, when she was the catalog librarian at Brewton-Parker, Turner was asked to organize the college's documents, photos and early trustees' meeting minutes.

She recruited the advisement of Susan Broome, the head of special collections at Mercer University, who Turner said gave her suggestions on setting up archives and preserving materials.

Turner then became college archivist in 1996 and began preparations in anticipation of assisting the author of a centennial book. Then, in 1999, Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker, called upon Turner to write such a history book to commemorate the college's centennial anniversary.

Turner worked full time on writing the book from November 2002 through September 2003, thankfully with much of her research material in place. Turner said a common scenario in writing the book was to have the trustees' minutes on one side of her desk, the news story index on her computer and a microfilm reader to her left.

"Writing a history and knowing you have to document everything can be overwhelming," Turner said. "Much of the information in the early trustees' meeting minutes was vague, so it required a lot of extra work researching how important such an item was."

Dr. Ron Melton, the college's provost, served as Turner's editor, and Dr. Harry Bayne, associate professor of English at Brewton-Parker, served as proofreader. The book was published by Fields Publishing of Nashville, Tenn.

"Brewton-Parker College's history is a dramatic and inspiring story of vision, personal and constituent commitment, and struggle," President Smith said. "Ann Turner has done a masterful job of blending all these elements, and much more, into her narrative. Her book represents the first officially published history of the college, and it is fitting that it coincides with our centennial anniversary."

Inquiries concerning "Brewton-Parker College: Triumph Over Adversity, the First One-Hundred Years" may be directed to the college's public relations office at 912-583-3263.


Ann C. Turner, director of the Fountain-New Library and college archivist at Brewton-Parker College, holds of copy of "Brewton-Parker College: Triumph Over Adversity, the First One-Hundred Years," a book she authored to mark the college's Centennial Celebration in 2004.