Tracing the Tragedy & Triumph of Phenix City (Lunch & Learn)
Community Wide Read - LearningQUEST Series
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly: Life in the 1950’s
April 11 Lunch & Learn(noon-1PM) – bring a brown bag lunch – held in the Main Library’s second floor meeting room
Presenter: Ruth Coulter Bentley
Title: Ruth Coulter Bentley – Tracing the Tragedy & Triumph of Phenix City
Ruth Coulter Bentley, a Phenix City native whose family were leaders in the 1954 Cleanup, sets the stage and outlines the story of “The Wicked City” in the 1950’s.
Writing Guide handout will be available to describe and record your own stories from the 1950s.
Ruth Coulter Bentley grew up in Phenix City during its heyday as the "wickedest city in America", the subsequent 1954 Clean Up and the beginning of its current period of economic growth as an "All-American City". Because of her family's involvement in the Clean Up with her mother, Hilda H. Coulter, leading the Russell Betterment Association Auxilliary and its "Angry Women", she had an insider view of this period in the history of her home town. She married Dr. Michael D. Bentley, nephew of Hugh Bentley, who spearheaded the Clean Up as founder and President of the Russell Betterment Association, and they spent most of their professional lives in Maine where she retired as Coordinator of International Student Programs at the University of Maine. In part her Phenix City background spurred her major in Political Science and History, work in Intercultural Education and leadership roles in the League of Women Voters of Maine. In 1996 they returned to Alabama, where Dr. Bentley has continued his career as an organic chemist, presently as Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Serina Therapeutics at Hudson-Alpha Institute. Mrs. Bentley has pursued her interests in history and gardening and been active as a volunteer in the Huntsville community.