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Book Signing Event Spotlights Prattville’s African American Authors

By Christine Smith Davis

The 2nd Annual Book Signing and Art Event was held on October 5 at The North Highland Memorial Center. 

Christine Smith Davis served as the Event Coordinator. Each Author and Visual Artist provided their elevator pitch to the audience describing their original work. The main featured author was Charles Ulma Smith, a former Prattville resident who currently resides in Aurora, Colorado. This was Mr. Smith’s second visit to Prattville as an author within the past two years.

 In 2018, he participated in a book signing event to promote his first book entitled “The Arctic Jungles of Vietnam.” Smith described his journey as an African American soldier first from Prattville, Alabama to Fairbanks, Alaska and then to the deep Jungles of Vietnam. 

Smith stated he returned home in the late 60’s and his family welcomed him with open arms. However, for years he wrestled with trying to understand why his family never asked questions about his experiences in Vietnam.

 With this revelation tugging at the back of his mind, he decided that he wanted his children and family to know what he had experienced in Vietnam. His book is a memoir that describes his early childhood and one of the most eventful experiences in his life as a soldier deep in the dark Jungles of Vietnam. 

For years, he was unable to talk about what happened, but he is now able to tell his story and encourages other veterans to tell their story.

The youngest author was Elijah Anthony Davis an 8-year-old from Indianapolis, Indiana. Davis wrote and illustrated his book entitled “Y Team the Rise of Cretar.” It is a comic book featuring mythological tales and legends.

Ester Harris Graham, a former resident of Prattville who now resides in Birmingham, Alabama wrote a book entitled “Shaken.” Her book is “a combination of fiction and non-fiction designed to awaken the reader to the reality of our changing dwelling place and to offer hope and comfort for the glorious life that’s out of this world.”

Larry Cohill, author and former combat soldier in Vietnam highlighted his experiences in his book entitled “You don’t have to take the long way home.”

Tori Jackson a Visual Artist and resident of Prattville displayed her art work featuring both native and African American art.

Ed Harbison, Author and Senator from Columbus, Georgia read excerpts from his book entitled “Getting Butter from a Duck: Life Lessons from Rural Alabama to the Georgia State Senate.”

Christine Smith Davis, author of “Just Go for It!” profiled her running career and the benefits of exercising. The book serves as a training guide for amateur athletes of all ages.

 In addition to steering the reader in locating track competitions, it also identifies other sports that the reader can engage including archery, swimming, tennis, bowling, golfing, race walking and many other sports activities.

 An avid Masters and Senior Athlete, Davis currently serves as an Ambassador for the Huntsman World Senior Games and the National Senior Games. In this capacity, Davis stresses the benefits of exercising including increasing flexibility, balance, strength, endurance and fall prevention. The ultimate goal is for the reader to actively engage in physical activity.

Davis also introduced the audience to two of her new books. One entitled My Life Story: Past, Present and Future; and “Mother Dear’s Cookbook. My Life Story is a guide for the reader to write their own life story. It is a series of interview questions that can be used to obtain information regarding parents’ background and knowledge of grandparents ancestry that can also help with constructing one’s family tree. It can be used as a living document to pass on to one’s children or other family members.  Mother Dear’s Cookbook is a book that features southern cuisine and special recipes such as the signature Red Velvet Coconut Cake, homemade rolls and other delicacies.

The Book Signing Event could not have been possible without the assistance of the book signing committee. Committee members present at this event included Maretta Golston, Mable Sager, Ida Williams, Lenora Peterson, Lorenza Davis, Melissa Bradshaw, Betty Thomas, Robert Golston, Carla Jackson, Dot Mays James Mays, Paulette Smith, Lolita Smith, Anthony Davis, and Crystal Black Davis.

Davis encouraged the audience to consider participating in the National Senior Games ( or  the Huntsman World Senior Games (  She also suggested the formation of  a Book club.