Authors to promote works at festival

An eclectic group of 15 authors will participate in a forum at the Artist In Bloom Festival Book Fair on Saturday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Quadrangle of the Grand Ballroom

Patty Byers, Anne Gayles-Felton and Althemese Barnes are three of the authors who will be speaking about their works and taking questions from the audience, as they bring their own points of view to the history of African Americans in the Deep South.

Patti Byers, a native of Jonesboro, Ga., details the race relations between blacks and whites in a small southern town in the late 1940s and the early 1950s in her book “Separate Fountains.”

Byers, who is an adjunct instructor in the School of Education at Florida State University, is passionate about the subjects of racism and injustice.

“This book came from the heart and reflects my attitudes on race relations,” Byers said. “My book has been compared by some critics to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and I do believe that it is a realistic portrayal of race relations in the South during a crucial period in our national history.”

Althamese Barnes is similarly passionate about her book, “Tallahassee, Florida,” which is a pictorial history of contributions of African Americans to the history of Tallahassee from the late 1900s to the present. Barnes and her collaborator, Ann Roberts, drew on vintage photographs from Joseph Avery, a local African-American photographer.

“This was a labor of love and would not have been possible without the help of the Riley House Museum,” Barnes said. “Anne Roberts and I wrote this book to capture a part of African history that is not packaged and that is true to the way people actually lived in those times.”

Anne Gayles-Felton, a professor with the FAMU College of Education since 1957, took a sabbatical to write her book, the “History of the College of Education Florida A&M University 1887-2000.”

“It was a difficult process, but a very satisfying one,” Gayles-Felton said. “I am proud to promote the book for the Artists in Bloom Festival.”

For more information on the Artists in Bloom Festival, please visit the FAMU Web site address at

Rex T. Newman can be reached at