Come meet UA Press author Katie Lamar Jackson as she introduces her new book: A Movement of the People.
How a grassroots movement led primarily by women shaped Alabama’s environmental consciousness.
A Movement of the People: The Roots of Environmental Education and Advocacy in Alabama is a detailed history of the Alabama Environmental Quality Association (AEQA). The AEQA helped to establish groundbreaking environmental protection and natural resource preservation policies for the state and the region and grew into one of the nation’s most progressive environmental education efforts.
The AEQA began in 1966 with the relatively simple political action agenda of cleaning up unsightly and unsanitary roadside trash. These inspired citizens collaborated with civic leaders to identify and remove illegal rural dumps and create more regulated landfills statewide. Eventually they became involved in the “Keep America Beautiful” campaign and with the US Public Health Service in its attempt to rid the state of the yellow-fever mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, which breeds in standing, fetid water. The acme of these early efforts was the passage of Alabama’s Solid Waste Disposal Law of 1969, one of the nation’s first such bills.
The AEQA’s dedicated staff and supporters spearheaded other environmental projects, many of which remain active today, such as recycling programs with industry giants throughout the Southeast and the founding of the Bartram Trail Conference, a multistate initiative to identify and preserve the path that Quaker botanist William Bartram took through the territory before its formation into states.
Using recorded interviews with Martha McInnis, executive vice president of the AEQA, and full access to a meticulously preserved archive of the organization’s papers and artifacts, Katie Lamar Jackson relates this previously untold story of remarkable “citizen activism.” A Movement of the People is a valuable account of the organization’s growth and advancement, both economically and societally, which serves as a blueprint for successful civic activism and grassroots organizing.