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Kimball Speers: Her Life & Legacy

KIMBALL: War leader; Royal power

Article from The Daily Sentinel  by DeWayne Patterson about Kim Speers, Author of "A Binding Love" , a story of love set in two different time periods, after the Civil War and after the Civil Rights period.

Kim Speers was a youngster when the schools in Scottsboro were integrated. It was a different time, she remembers. Yet, it was a time that ultimately shaped a woman into becoming who she is, an educator and author back in her hometown.

Speers attended Carver High School until the fifth-grade. The school closed in 1968 as the schools integrated. In the sixth-grade, she went to Scottsboro Junior High School.

"It was a big change," said Speers. "I never had any traumatic experiences, but there was always the feeling like we didn't quite fit in." Speers said students before her class had first broken the walls of segregation in the schools."They suffered the most," she says. "I had a cousin, who would come out of school and be called racist names."

Speers, whose family moved to Scottsboro when she was four-years-old, graduated from the high school in 1974. It was still a time when black students were left out of activities such as cheerleading and student government. Twenty-five years later, her oldest daughter, Kristin, would become the school's first black student SGA president.

Speers says, these days, the prejudices seem to be more economic-based rather than about color.

"It's classes of people," she said. "The right clothes and the right house. It's based more on class than race." Speers graduated from Alabama A&M, the first in her family to graduate college, majoring in education. In college, she met her future husband, Gary, who is now an assistant principal at Collins Elementary School and Scottsboro City Council member.

They first lived in Birmingham, where Gary worked in nuclear power. "I never thought I'd come back here," said Speers. "But Gary was gone 10 months out of the year. We kept reading about Bellefonte and how it was ready to take off any minute." Waiting on that any minute to begin, the couple moved to Scottsboro in 1993. "I liked the idea of raising a family in a small town," Speers said. They raised three daughters. Kristin is currently a captain in the Army; Rebecca is married with a daughter in Huntsville; and Stephanie is a freshman at Alabama State, where she writes for the school newspaper. "We're empty-nesters now," laughed Speers. "There's a lot more me time."

Since 1993, Speers has been the librarian at Brownwood Elementary School. During Black History Month this month, she is sharing stories of black leaders with students. "It's a big part of our culture," she says. "I love working with students. It never gets boring. There is always something to learn."

Speers is also an author. Her first book, "A Binding Love," a story of love set in two different time periods, after the Civil War and after the Civil Rights period. She's already started a second book on the history of Hip Hop. And she's already got a third book idea in mind about the integration of schools. "We've read about the first students and the hostile environment," said Speers. "But we never talk about the teachers, who went in the same place." History, she says, is important. Speers was one of the key members of helping develop the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center.

"It was Sheila Washington's dream," says Speers of the museum. "It was a worthy cause that needed to be fulfilled.


Brownwood librarian, Kimball Speers, publishes first book

Historical romance blends love story between two eras

by Laura Pitts, Daily Sentinel

Kimball Speers, librarian at Brownwood Elementary, said she feels accomplished to finally have a book published.

"I've always wanted to write and knew I would always publish," she said. "This book started out as a short story, but I went back and developed it into something longer."

Her historical romance titled, "A Binding Love," bridges the gap between generations, showing that true love can last until it finds the perfect home to rest in. 

Inspiration from the book didn't come from her own personal experiences, but instead from another nonfiction book she'd read. 

"I know that many people say the first book you write is based off your own life, but that wasn't the case for me," said Speers. "I read a nonfiction book that really sparked my interest in developing a story."

The nonfiction book is "The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White" by Henry Wiencek which tells the story of two families, one white and one black, discovering that they are both related through a distant family member. 

Speers's historical romance is set in both the 1870s and the 1970s and tells the love story of two couples that span the course of a generation.

Speers used many different aspects of language and naming to preserve the balance between both time periods.

The main character is named Katherine in the 1870s and Kathy in the 1970s. Speers said she used more formal names for characters during the 1870s and  more informal names during the 1970s to blend the time frames.

"The type face on the pages reflect the era so readers will understand which part of time and which couple they are reading about," she said.

Speers said her book isn't finished and that no work is ever really complete.

"There is so much I could add to the book and even more  with the characters," she said. "Some characters still have stories to tell."

Some of her favorite authors come not from historical writers, but from children's writers such as Judy Blum and Virginia Hamilton.

She's gotten great response to the book from her friends and family, but said the hardest part of publishing was putting her work out in the open for everyone to see.

"It's scary, really, when you think about it," she said. "Those are my words, out there for everyone to read. But I guess that's part of it."

"A Binding Love," Speers said, will make readers laugh and cry as they take a journey to understanding true love. 

The next book Spears plans to publish is a children's book titled "The ABCs of Hip Hop."

"I told my husband that I knew I was officially published when I got an ISBN number," said Speers, holding her book and flipping to the page with the number. "Now I've got that number and it's very exciting."




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