For the Love of Alabama is a compilation of the most poignant and trenchant writing—editorials, reportage, and columns—by two of Alabama’s most committed and reform-minded journalists. Ron Casey and Bailey Thomson both died young: Casey at forty-eight and Thomson at fifty-four. Nevertheless, through their work at the Birmingham News and the Mobile Press-Register, respectively, they labored tirelessly to illuminate and confront the state’s chronic and interrelated problems of race, government, education, and poverty.
Both journalists attended The University of Alabama shortly after George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door, and their subsequent work tackled the tumultuous politics of that era. Casey and Thomson soon became voices of statewide reform movements. As such, they attacked the 1901 Constitution for its stagnating effects on the laboring class, race relations, education, and healthcare; allowances for special-interest influence; and impediments to fair taxes—an ongoing crusade that spawned, among much other work, Casey’s Pulitzer Prize–winning series of editorials “What They Won’t Tell You About Your Taxes” and Thomson’s series “Dixie’s Broken Heart,” which won the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
Compiled here are the writings that challenged not only the en- trenched corruption of the times, but also the apathy toward that corruption. It is a testament to the process of reform Casey and Thomson hoped would improve the lives of all Alabamians. It is also a volume of strong personal convictions, uncompromised religious beliefs, and a grounded devotion to community—all displayed in the clear, concise prose of two friends driven to change, for the better, the state that they loved.