Alabama author and prize-winning journalist Wayne Greenhaw died last month, following complications from open-heart surgery. Wayne was a good man and a good friend and a gifted writer. He wrote 22 books and his latest, Fighting the Devil in Dixie, dealing with civil rights activists confronting the Ku Klux Klan from the 1950s through the mid-1980s, was published in early January. Wayne was certainly a prolific writer and a great one. I understand Wayne had an offer from a publishing company to write a novel based on his long-time friendship with author Harper Lee.
Wayne received numerous awards during his lifetime, including the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer in 2006 and the ninth Clarence Cason award for nonfiction in 2005 from the University of Alabama. Fighting the Devil in Dixie was said to be the fruition of a lifetime of work. Wayne was a history buff and was one of the most knowledgeable persons around on Alabama history. It was said by Rick Bragg, his good friend, that Wayne “not only saw history, he lived it.” All who knew Wayne also knew that his writing reflected his passions. He was passionate about Alabama – could not tolerate wrongdoings, hated injustices – and was 100% supportive of folks who stood up to those injustices. Wayne Greenhaw will be missed by his many friends and even by those who didn’t actually know him, but had the good fortune of knowing him through his many books.
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