Welcome to Eclectic – formerly Pack Mule for the New School – is a blog written by Foster Dickson, a writer, editor, and teacher who lives in Montgomery, Alabama. The blog has taken on a wide variety of subjects during its nine years, since 2010, but its main ones are the culture of the Deep South, the arts & humanities, education, and issues of progress and social justice. You can follow the blog here by using the button the right side of the page, or you can keep up with new posts by liking Foster Dickson’s author pages on Facebook, Amazon, or GoodReads, by following him on Twitter or Instagram, or by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
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Foster Dickson’s work has centered mainly on subjects related to the American South, the arts & humanities, education, and social justice. His new book, Closed Ranks: The Whitehurst Case in Post-Civil Rights Montgomery, about a police-shooting controversy in Montgomery, Alabama in the mid-1970s, was published by NewSouth Books in November 2018.
Foster’s previous book, Children of the Changing South, was published by McFarland & Co. in 2011. This edited collection (with Foster’s introduction) contains memoirs by eighteen writers and historians who grew up in the South during and after the Civil Rights movement. The Alabama Writers Forum’s review of the book stated, “Besides being a great read, this collection provides a valuable new perspective on Southern history.”
Foster’s other published books are biographical works on two often-neglected Southerners, The Life and Poetry of John Beecher (Edwin Mellen Press, 2009) and I Just Make People Up: Ramblings with Clark Walker (NewSouth Books, 2009), and a book of poetry, Kindling Not Yet Split (Court Street Press, 2002). He also acted as general editor for the place-focused curriculum guide Treasuring Alabama’s Black Belt (Alabama Humanities Foundation/Auburn University at Montgomery, 2009).
You can learn more about Foster and his work by clicking the links below:
Outside of writing and teaching, Foster’s other interests are Auburn football, his Catholic faith, cooking and eating, craft beers, gardening and urban farming; classic country, rock, and soul music; classic and independent films, family history, social theory and politics. His favorite songs are “Wasn’t Born to Follow” by The Byrds, “The Weight” by The Band, and “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, and he likes Levi’s jeans, Liberty overalls, Coca-Cola (never Pepsi), Grapico, Miller High Life, George Dickel No. 8, a cup of black coffee with a spoonful of honey in it, Chilean cabernets and Argentine malbecs, and a good plate of homestyle food with one vegetable of each color. His turnoffs are bottled water, ice breakers and “team-building exercises,” green bell peppers and black olives, those sipping lids they put on coffee cups, chain restaurants, traffic, airports, and rudeness. Foster has always wanted a vintage sunburst Gretsch semi-hollow body guitar and has always wanted to go to Paris, France, but has never gotten off his ass and actually made an effort to attain either goal.
Foster Dickson is available for freelance assignments and contract work in both writing and editing, and for speaking engagements or guest artist presentations related to Southern culture, education, and social-justice subjects.
For more information, you can contact him using the form below:
*The Foster Dickson who writes this blog is not the same person as the Foster Dickson who works in a global youth ministry.