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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Sunday with Friends celebrates nonfiction in February

Sunday, Feb. 11: Dr. Joe Reiff
Sunday, Feb. 11: Dr. Joe Reiff
Additional photos below »

January 30, 2018

Two Abingdon academics are the featured speakers in the February "Sunday with Friends" events at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia.

On Sunday, Feb. 11, Dr. Joe Reiff, professor of religion at Emory & Henry College, discusses his book, "Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi's Closed Society." The book focuses on the response of the white Mississippi Methodists to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Twenty-eight ministers signed a statement of their convictions, based on Jesus's teachings to permit "no discrimination of race, color or creed," in an attempt to lead white Methodists to work for racial justice. The book documents the failures of the group, but also their successes, as the Deep South's massive resistance to segregation began to crack.

The book received the 2016 Nonfiction Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

On Feb. 25, Dr. Stephen Jett, retired professor of geography from University of California, Davis, speaks about his new book, "Ancient Ocean Crossings: Reconsidering the Case of Contacts with the Pre-Columbian Americas."

The book paints a compelling picture of pre-Columbian cultures and Old World civilizations that, contrary to popular belief, were not isolated from one another. Jett suggests that many ancient peoples had both the seafaring capabilities and the motives to cross the oceans, and, in fact, did so repeatedly and with great impact.

The book synthesizes ideas from archaeology, geography, linguistics, climatology, oceanography, and history of navigation to make his compelling case. Jett has also published several books on Navaho architecture, place-names and culture.

Each event is at 3 p.m. in the conference room of the Washington County Public Library. There will be a reception, book sales and signings after the events. For more information, call 276-676-6298 or visit

Topics: Literature

Stephen Jett