Student

Matthew Wood, on a year abroad at the University of Alabama, discusses what life is like today in one of the major battlegrounds of the 60s

From high school hero to jihadist targeting the US

They call him "The Jihadist Next Door": an all-American high school student from Alabama who recently popped up in a remote corner of East Africa, where he is one of the key figures behind the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabaab's long and bloody guerrilla war against the government of Somalia.

To Kill A Mockingbird: The life and afterlife of Harper Lee's misunderstood classic

After 50 years, Harper Lee's only novel remains an icon of literature – and law.

Fifty years of Scout's honour: To Kill A Mockingbird continues to resonate with generations of readers half a century on

When the young Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird on 11 July 1960, she didn't seem to see it as historically important. "I never expected any sort of success with it," she said much later. "I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement..."

White House turns up heat on BP with flurry of new demands

The White House is ratcheting up pressure on BP over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as the company meets today to discuss the future of the dividend payments while it assesses the scale and costs of the unfolding environmental disaster.

Oil slick to spread along coastline

Oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico could threaten the Mississippi and Alabama coasts this week, US forecasters said yesterday, as public anger surged over the country's worst environmental disaster.

Rupert Cornwell: Why Harper Lee is likely to miss her own party

Out of America: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is 50, its author reclusive

Ten dead after tornado and storms hit US South

Rescuers combed neighborhoods of splintered homes in Mississippi, ferrying the injured on all-terrain vehicles where roads were impassable after a devastating tornado sliced through the state and killed at least 10 people, including three children.

Bill Powell: Racial pioneer who built the first open-to-all golf course in the US

Bill Powell was golf-crazy when he returned to Canton, Ohio after the Second World War.

Charles Moore: Making history through the lens

The photographer whose stark images defined the US civil rights movement has died aged 79. Rupert Cornwell reports on a remarkable life

The Well and the Mine, By Gin Phillips

This gentle debut novel set in Depression-era Alabama kicks off with a startling opening scene. Nine-year-old Tess Moore is resting in the porch when she sees a stranger toss a swaddled baby into the family well. It's only later, when a small corpse is fished up in a bucket, that anyone believes her tale.

Alabama professor charged over shooting deaths of three colleagues

A biology professor at a southern US university was charged with murder over the shooting deaths of three fellow biology professors at the campus.

Joe Shannon: American pilot who flew in Bay of Pigs invasion

Joe Shannon, who died on 5 January aged 88, was a retired Alabama National Guard pilot who trained anti-Castro pilots and flew in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba nearly five decades ago.

Allen Toussaint and The Blind Boys of Alabama, The London Jazz Festival, Barbican, London

Dixieland descended upon the London Jazz Festival yesterday and transformed the Barbican into a New Orleans gospel church for one night only.

Gladys Gillem: Wrestling 'heel'

Gladys "Killem" Gillem, who has died aged 89, spent her professional wrestling career as a heel, but not just any heel. Gillem was, more often than not, the designated loser for the popular "girls" champion Mildred Burke, arguably the only drawing card in the 1940s for women's wrestling, which was otherwise presented as a novelty, like midget wrestling. Gillem spent nearly a decade as Burke's top opponent partly because, lacking Burke's glamour, she played the bigger and stronger heel well, and was athletic enough to put Burke's wrestling over; but also because, for most of that time, she was the main, but not only, mistress of Billy Wolfe, who controlled women's wrestling and was also married to Burke. This odd triangle belied Burke's image as an all-American wife as well as wrestler.

The Well and the Mine, By Gina Phillips

"After she threw the baby in, nobody believed me for the longest time. But I kept hearing that splash." So opens Gina Phillip's debut novel about life in a small Alabama coal-mining town in the Great Depression.

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