Al Stewart Honored
PIKEVILLE-July 17, 2003-The Great Hall of the May Stone Building at Hindman Settlement School was a place familiar to both Albert Stewart and James Still.
It is in this room on Monday, July 28, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon that Transportation Secretary James C. Codell III will unveil the signs naming portions of Kentucky Route 160 in memory of these two extraordinary men, who each achieved national acclaim because of their literary achievements.
Mike Mullins, director of the Hindman Settlement School and a close friend of both Stewart and Still, will serve as master of ceremonies for the occasion. Highway District 12’s Chief District Engineer, Danl L. Hall, will also participate in the program, which is being held in conjunction with the annual Writers Workshop at Hindman Settlement School.
Albert Stewart, a native of Knott County, died on April 1, 2001, at the age
of 86. According to Karen Joy Jones’s story in the Troublesome Creek Times,
Stewart was a brilliant man who spent many years helping other writers develop
their abilities rather than promoting his own “tremendous talent.”
He was founder and editor of Appalachian Heritage magazine and organized writers workshops at Alice Lloyd College, Morehead State University, Hindman Settlement School, and at Longwood College in Virginia as well as Mantrip, a high school literary magazine published in Floyd County.
Stewart was honored with the Stylus Award in poetry, given by the University of Kentucky, and the Appalachian Treasure Award from Morehead State University. He was inducted into the Knott County Hall of Fame in 1991.
James Still came from his native Alabama to Knott County in 1931 to fill a post as volunteer librarian at Hindman Settlement School. His first volume of poetry, Hounds on the Mountain, was published in 1937. His most well known book, River of Earth, published in 1940, was re-done in the early 1990s as River of Earth in Story and Song, a collaboration with musician Randy Wilson.
Still died on April 28, 2001, just 27 days after Stewart, at the age of 94. During his life in Knott County, he share the Southern Authors Award (for River of Earth) with Thomas Wolfe (You Can’t Go Home Again). Still earned two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Kentucky Arts Council’s Milner Award, and the Appalachian Treasure Award from Morehead State University. He was chosen Kentucky’s first official Poet Laureate in 1995.
As a tribute to these two important Knott County writers, portions of KY 160, a road each man traveled daily, will be named in their honor and memory. The section of KY 160 from the northern intersection of KY 550 to the intersection with KY 80 will be named Albert Stewart Highway. The section of KY 160 from Hindman Settlement School to intersection of KY 15 at Carr Fork Lake will be named James Still Highway.
Mike Mullins said that he wants “all of Albert and James’s
friends and neighbors” to join him and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
officials for this important ceremony.
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