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Nancy Smith Fichter
Lillian Smith's niece and former camper

After Nancy's first exposure to the Martha Graham style of dance at Laurel Falls Camp in the early 1940s, she continued her study of ballet but knew that someday she would seek this new art form known as modern dance. She subsequently studied with Graham and her professional life was in dance from that time on. Nancy developed the professional dance program at Florida State University, now known as one of the top 5 such programs in the country. When she retired in 1997, Florida State University's Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre was named in her honor. She still teaches some graduate coursework in choreography and directing, in FSU's dance program. Briefly Nancy returned full time in 2001 - 2002 to serve as Interim Dean of FSU's School of Theatre.

Currently, Nancy and her husband, visual artist Robert Fichter, direct the Lillian E. Smith Center for Creative Arts in the summers. It is a residency program for artists of every genre to find peace and quiet, and it is the main project of the Lillian E. Smith Foundation, Inc, of which Nancy is President.

www.lillianesmith.org


Margaret Rose Gladney
Author, How Am I to Be Heard?: Letters of Lillian Smith

Rose first encountered Lillian Smith in 1972 when, as an American Studies doctoral student at the University of New Mexico, she read Smith's autobiographical masterpiece, Killers of the Dream. Subsequently, Smith's life and work informed Rose's teaching and research career at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Beginning with an oral history project on Lillian Smith and Laurel Falls Camp, from 1977 to 1982 she interviewed over fifty former campers and counselors, including Paula Snelling and members of Smith's family. After publishing three articles on Smith and the camp, she collected and edited Smith's letters, for which she received the 1993 Lillian Smith Book Award and the 1994 C. Hugh Holman Award.

Following the publication of How Am I to Be heard?, Rose was invited to write introductions to the 1994 editions of Killers of the Dream (W. W. Norton) and Smith's second novel, One Hour (University of North Carolina Press), as well as biographical entries on Smith of the American National Biography, The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay History. Other publications related to her Rose's Smith research include "Personalizing the Political/Politicizing the Personal: Reflections on Editing the Letters of Lillian Smith" in Carryin' On: An Anthology of Southern Lesbian and Gay History (NYU Press, 1997) and "Paula Snelling: A Significant Other" in Modern American Queer History (Temple U. Press,2001).

Upon her retirement from the University of Alabama in 2003, "The Rose Gladney Lecture on Justice and Social Change" was established in her honor. She and her life partner, Marcia Winter, live in Fernandina Beach, Florida, where they enjoy walking on the beach and Rose concentrates on her writing.

rgladney@bama.ua.edu

 

Marylou Holzman Hadditt
Former camper

Marylou Hadditt attended Laurel Falls Camp in her teen years from 1943 to 1945. She was greatly influenced by Miss Lil's teachings on race and minority oppression and has followed these throughout her life. Marylou began working with race issues in 1952 when she joined the staff of the Hyde Park Herald, a multi-racial weekly newspaper on Chicago's South side. This was the first paper in the United States to refuse advertising which read "white only". Marylou was active in the community of Hyde Park itself as a viable interracial community.

Lillian Smith's teachings have been seminal to Hadditt's life long involvement in social movements. She lives in Sonoma County, California where she is currently involved in the White Privilege movement. Marylou has four children and five grandsons.


Mimi Pace Newcomb
Former camper and counselor

Mimi was born in Albany, Georgia in 1921 and attended her first year at Laurel Falls at the age of 10. The camp opened up a whole new life for Mimi, who had been spending each summer away from home with her grandparents. The 8 week camp sessions were a welcomed change, introducing her to new friends and interesting people from all walks of life. Her friendship with Miss Lil and another of Lil's nieces, Annie Laurie Peeler, was an everlasting friendship providing Mimi with wonderful years at camp as both camper and later as counselor. Mimi continued working summers as a counselor after she was married, while her husband, Bob, was away during the war.

Miss Lil trusted Mimi enough to have her proofread each of her books, something Mimi still talks about today. The independence and confidence Lil inspired in the young women attending camp was surely one of the inspirations for Mimi to take an interest in learning to fly a plane at the age of 16. Mimi has 4 children and 10 grandchildren, all who live within 5 miles of she and her husband Bob. Mimi has taught them all camp songs and kept some of the fun camp traditions alive. Mimi considers knowing Lillian Smith and growing up at Laurel Falls Camp one of the most important experiences in her life. Mimi lives in Albany, Georgia and suffers from macular degeneration. If you wish to contact her, please do so through her daughter, Bland.

bcleesat@ppmh.org


Willie Mae Sanford 1918 - 2008
Former camp worker

Born in 1918, Willie Mae began working for the Smith family at Laurel Falls Camp when she was 16 years old. She has worked for almost all of the Smith family through the years. After camp closed, she continued to live at the camp with Lil and Paula where she cooked and cleaned. After a brief move to Connecticut to stay with family, Willie Mae returned to Clayton after Lil's death and continued to work for the Smith family. Until her death, she lived in Clayton where she was very active in her beloved church and continued to prepare amazing meal for family and friends. Willie Mae was loved dearly by her family and friends and is missed by all who knew her.


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