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February 20, 2001

Newsmaker Interview:
Ann Bedsole

The following is an interview with former state senator Ann Bedsole, who is the president of the Mobile Tricentennial Celebration.

Harbinger: Why should the Tricentennial Celebration be such a big deal for Mobilians?

Bedsole: A Tricentennial in any city is an important event that should be marked and celebrated. After all, people have been working on this event for 299 years, so far. Mobile is a very old and beautiful city. We who live here have for the most part enjoyed a peaceful and pleasant life; we have some traditions we can recall with pride. During our 300 years we have gotten along with each other better than have people in most of the world's communities, in spite of the fact that several different governments have ruled us.

We are also looking at 2002 as an opportunity to unite the community in a whole new way through all three components of the Tricentennial: Celebration, Education, and Renaissance. Our Celebration events, from the tall sailing ships to the huge birthday bash, will have something for everyone to enjoy and will be designed to bring us all together. The Education aspect will offer studies of our history, environment, and culture for students of all ages and parents who want to learn more about Mobile along with their children. And the Renaissance will do everything from renovating individual historic properties to revitalizing entire neighborhoods.

In short, the Tricentennial is a big deal because it gives us the chance to celebrate our success as a community for an entire year, and it gives us the opportunity to create a legacy of commitments to each other for generations.

Harbinger: What are some of the activities planned?

Bedsole: I am enclosing a calendar of events to tell you of some of the activities planned. There are many other smaller events.

Harbinger: Nowadays, it seems that any major event is accompanied by controversy, and even Mobile's Tricentennial Celebration may not be able to escape without some controversies. There is the controversy, according to The Founders of the Old Mobile Society, surrounding the as-yet-undiscovered locations of Fort Louis and the graveyard wherein were buried four members of the famous La Salle expedition of 1682. Is this controversy going to distract from the Tricentennial events?

Bedsole: There will be controversy as long as there is freedom in a community. The question regarding the location of Fort Louis and the Graveyard has engendered some spirited discussion, but I would not call it controversy. Our hope is that the Tricentennial will encourage lively debates about our past. What better way to get folks involved in the issues that brought us together in the first place and will shape where we go in the future?

Harbinger: Has the question regarding what will be represented in the official history of Mobile's last 300 years been resolved? Would a majority of the history be told from the viewpoints of Europeans?

Bedsole: I read once that "history is written by the winners," and if that is true, then can we ever say what is the real history? The way we are attempting to resolve the issue is by supplying as much documented history as possible and by approaching it from several points of view. I have not yet read the history book that is now at the printers, but from the caliber of writers involved, I would expect it to be a well-balanced, well-researched work. In addition, David Thomas is writing a Black History of Mobile, which, while being written from an African-American point of view, will be as accurate as possible.


TRICENTENNIAL CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date

Event

Jan. 4, 2002

Tricentennial Headquarters Opening

Jan. 18, 2002

We Are Mobile - The Spirit of a Place & Its People

Jan. 19, 2002

Celebrate Mobile-Delchamps Senior Bowl

Jan. 20, 2002

Mobile History at 27-mile Bluff

Feb. 15, 2002

Art Patrons League - Portals Unveiling

Mar. 21-24, 2002

ReBloom in Bloom - A Festival of Flowers

Mar. 25-27, 2002

Arrival Iberville - A Reunion of Founding Families

Apr. 5-7, 2002

Musical Mobile - And All That Jazz

May 17-19, 2002

Tricentennial Culinary Jubilee

July 3-7, 2002

Sail Mobile - A Salute to the Sea

Aug. 4, 2002

River Boat Days

Aug. 5-7, 2002

Vintage Toy Show at Oakleigh Historic Complex

Aug. 8, 2002

Youth Art Show

Aug. 9, 2002

Mobile’s Singing Children Concert

Aug. 10, 2002

Youth Mobile Festival

Aug. 10, 2002

Tricentennial/Rotary Tarpod Tournament

Aug. 11, 2002

Teddy Bear Picnic Toy Boat Regatta

Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2002

Historic Mobile Homes Tour

Nov. 1-3, 2002

Homecoming At the Homeport


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