Dr. Wayne Flynt

2017 Dill Lecture Series Speaker
September 24 & 25, 2017


Dr. Wayne Flynt is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University, author of fourteen books, and one of the most recognized and honored scholars of Southern history, politics, religion and culture. He has actively devoted his life to bringing the issues of history and poverty and their social impact to the forefront of the public's consciousness. Through the years he has also been a prominent member of historical associations in Alabama and the South, serving as president of the Southern Historical Association in 2004.

During his academic career, Dr. Flynt has won numerous teaching awards and been a Distinguished University Professor for many years. His research focuses on Southern culture, Alabama politics, Southern religion, education reform, and poverty. In 2005 he was inducted into The University of Alabama Communication Hall of Fame, which honors communication personalities who have brought lasting fame to the state. He is also Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the online Encyclopedia of Alabama, the product of a partnership between Auburn University and the Alabama Humanities Foundation. 

Dr. Flynt enjoyed an enduring and endearing friendship with Harper Lee, beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Their exchange of letters (some of which are included in Flynt's latest book, Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee) reveals much about the character and passion of these two amazing Alabamians who have, through their writings, brought attention to concerns such as racism, poverty, and the importance of moral values. Upon Lee's death in 2016, Wayne Flynt delivered the eulogy at her funeral, at her request.   

A teacher, believes Flynt, is always a teacher, and can be a teacher in so many different ways- through writing, through lectures, or through his or her memoir. It is Flynt's ultimate wish to leave a legacy. "I'd sort of like for somebody to believe...somehow Alabama's a little bit better because I was a teacher and wrote about what I experienced and how I changed."

Dr. Flynt was educated at Howard College, now Samford University, (A.B. 1961) and Florida State University (M.S. 1962, Ph.D. 1965). His teaching career at Samford and then Auburn spanned four decades until his retirement in 2005. He and his wife Dorothy still make their home in Auburn. They have two sons and three grandchildren. 

Among Dr. Flynt's books are:
Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee (2017)
Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century (2016)
Keeping the Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives (2011)
Alabama: The History of a Deep South State (2010)
Alabama in the Twentieth Century (2004)
Poor but Proud: Alabama's Poor Whites (2001)
Taking Christianity to China: Alabama Missionaries in the Middle Kingdom, 1850-1950 (1997)