The much-awaited book, A Heart for Selma: 12 Stories of Activate Selma NC, written by Pine Level writer Cindy Brookshire, shares 12 personal stories of Selma, North Carolina residents, volunteers, and business owners who are revitalizing and uplifting their beloved rail community and all it has to offer. Katja Jentes of ProverbsPhotography shot all the photos in the book, including the book cover.
Twenty-three community members participated in the project and two national experts, Roger Brooks of DestinationDevelopment.org and Charles L. Marohn Jr. of StrongTowns.org endorsed Activate Selma’s grassroots work. The writing of A Heart for Selma: 12 Stories of Activate Selma NC, is a project supported by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Readers will see Spook Joyner of Live @ The Rudy, unplugged, reflecting on the twists ’n’ turns of his half-century music career. Picture a toddler, his Aunt Letha Mae catching him dancing to the chugga-chugga of the back porch ringer washing machine, or traveling as a band in a converted school bus nicknamed Miss Breezy. “There’s a lot of turmoil in the music business. If you don’t like waves and the swishin’ and the swashin,’ stay away,” Spook advises. “Finding your way is a struggle, but you just have to jump in and live life and if yours is a washin’ machine, hang on.” Live @ The Rudy show tickets are available online at therudytheatre.com.
Eleven more stories take readers along with Zena Hamilton-Rose (“A Cup of Coffee”) as she masters everything from a jackhammer drill to a squatting, belching espresso steamer to get her Coffee on Raiford shop open.
“Repair the Land” follows entrepreneur Michael Sneed (Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Appliance Boot Camp) who entertains his Facebook and YouTube followers as he teaches them to start their own businesses. “I just turn on the camera, walk down the street, and encounter life!” says Michael. “People find that interesting. And it is, you know?”
Originally from Veracruz, Mexico, Sergio Benitez and his sister, Oralia Benitez (“Everyone Needs a Tiara”) co-hosted Fiesta de Raiford as the gran reapertura of their brick-and-mortar Sola Creations Boutique in the former Creech Drugstore. Their inventory of quinceañera dresses, accessories and assistance in planning family celebrations for baptisms, first communions, and other rites of passage have brought Latino culture to the heart of downtown Selma, where Miss Hispanic Heritage Selma will be crowned in September.
The stories close with a reflection on how council member Byron McAllister is the embodiment of Mayor Pro Tem Jacqueline Lacy’s decades-long quest to break down the psychological barrier the railroad tracks represent to town progress (“The Future Walked In”).
A Heart for Selma: 12 Stories of Activate Selma NC is available online at www.activateselmanc.com. In August, the book will be stocked at these Selma locations: Coffee on Raiford, Old Fashioned Ice Cream, Reid’s Country Sampler, Selma Cotton Mill, and Sola Creations Boutique, as well as the Johnston County Heritage Center in Smithfield, NC.