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Biographies in rotation

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald at age 17

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (July 24, 1900–March 10, 1948), born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama, was a novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920s—dubbed by her husband "the first American Flapper". After the success of his first novel This Side of Paradise, the Fitzgeralds became celebrities. Zelda Sayre grew up in a wealthy and prim southern family. Shortly after finishing high school, she met F. Scott Fitzgerald at a dance and a whirlwind courtship ensued. They married in 1920, and spent the early part of the decade as literary celebrities in New York. While Scott received acclaim for The Great Gatsby and his short stories, and the couple socialized with literary luminaries like Ernest Hemingway, their marriage was a tangle of jealousy, resentment and acrimony.

In 1930, Zelda was admitted to a sanatorium and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In the Maryland clinic, she wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, which was published in 1932. In 1948, the hospital at which she had been a patient caught fire, causing her death. Interest in the Fitzgeralds resurged shortly after her death: the couple has been the subject of popular books, movies and scholarly attention.


Rosa Parks in 1955, with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress called the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement." On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Unlike previous individual action of civil disobedience, such as 15-year-old Claudette Colvin's refusal to move from her seat on the same bus system, Parks's action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Parks's act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement. Parks eventually received many honors ranging from the 1979 Spingarn Medal to the Congressional Gold Medal, a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, and the posthumous honor of lying in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.


Smith in 2002

Osborne Earl "Ozzie" Smith (born December 26, 1954 in Mobile, Alabama) is a retired American professional baseball player who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. Nicknamed "The Wizard," Smith played shortstop for the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals in Major League Baseball, winning the National League Gold Glove Award for defensive play at shortstop for 13 consecutive seasons. A 15-time All-Star, Smith accumulated 2,460 hits and 580 stolen bases during his career, and won the National League Silver Slugger Award as the best hitter at shortstop in 1987.

Drafted as an amateur player by the San Diego Padres, Smith made his Major League Baseball debut in 1978. Smith won his first Gold Glove award in 1980 and made his first All Star Game appearance in 1981. Despite an injury during the 1985 season, Smith posted career highs in multiple offensive categories in 1987. Smith continued to earn Gold Gloves and All Star appearances on an annual basis until 1993, and later missed nearly three months of the 1995 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Smith retired at the end of the 1996 season.


Memorial Wall erected for Holloway

Natalee Holloway (born 1986) is an American female who disappeared on May 30, 2005, during a high school graduation trip to Aruba. The disappearance caused a media sensation in the U.S. She was last seen by her classmates outside Carlos'n Charlie's, a Caribbean chain restaurant and nightclub in Oranjestad, with locals Joran van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. When questioned, the three men denied knowing what became of Holloway. Van der Sloot was arrested twice and the Kalpoes arrested three times each but no charges were filed.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Aruban investigators conducted an extensive search for Holloway. The searches were unsuccessful, and according to Aruban authorities she is most likely dead. On December 18, 2007, Aruban prosecutors announced that the case would be closed. The Aruban prosecutor's office reopened the case on February 1, 2008, after receiving video footage of Joran van der Sloot making statements that Holloway died and that her body was disposed of. Van der Sloot has since denied that what he said was true. Holloway's family has criticized Aruban investigators throughout the search for a perceived lack of progress in finding her.


Robert Lee "Beautiful Bobby" Eaton

Robert Lee "Beautiful Bobby" Eaton (born August 14, 1958 in Huntsville, Alabama), is an American semi-retired professional wrestler, who made his debut in 1976. Eaton is most famous for his work in tag teams, especially his days as one-half of the team the Midnight Express. Under the management of Jim Cornette, Eaton originally teamed with Dennis Condrey and, later on, with Stan Lane. He has also worked with a number of other tag team partners, including Koko B. Ware, Steve Keirn, and "Lord" Steven Regal.

In his career, Eaton has wrestled for extended periods of time for various wrestling promotions: Mid-America Wrestling, Continental Wrestling Association, Mid-South Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, and Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He has also made brief guest appearances for Extreme Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, in addition to appearances for a considerable number of independent wrestling promotions over the years. He currently performs part-time, teaming with either Lane and/or Condrey under the Midnight Express name.


Holly during the WWE Raw - Survivor Series Tour

Robert "Bob" Howard (born January 29, 1963) better known by his ring name Hardcore Holly, is an American professional wrestler billed from Mobile, Alabama. He is best known for his 15-year stint with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

After debuting in 1990, Holly worked for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and other independent promotions, before joining WWE full-time in 1992. Initially portraying the character of a NASCAR driver, Thurman "Sparky" Plugg', his name was soon changed to Bob "Spark Plug" Holly, before forming a team with "Bodacious Bart", known as The New Midnight Express in 1998. After becoming known simply as "Hardcore Holly" in 1999, he joined by on-screen cousins, Crash and Molly. In 2002, he suffered a broken neck, which sidelined him for over a year. Upon his return, he engaged in minor feuds with wrestlers such as Mr. Kennedy and Rob Van Dam, before forming a tag team with Cody Rhodes in 2007. He was released from WWE in 2009. While in WWF/E, Holly held the WWF/E Hardcore Championship six times, the WWF/E Tag Team Championship three times (with 1-2-3 Kid, Crash Holly and Cody Rhodes), and the NWA World Tag Team Championship once with Bart Gunn.


Brodie Croyle durign a minicamp for the Kansas City Chiefs

John Brodie Croyle (pronounced /kroy-uhl/) (born February 6, 1983 in Rainbow City, Alabama) is an American football quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft after playing college football for the University of Alabama from 2002 to 2005. In Croyle's four years playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, he set numerous school records, and was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Croyle led the Crimson Tide to the 2006 Cotton Bowl and was named the game's offensive MVP.

Though he saw little playing time in his rookie season in the NFL, Croyle shared the starting position with Damon Huard in 2007. On November 18, Croyle started his first game as the Chiefs' starting quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts. Croyle remained the Chiefs' starting quarterback for the remainder of the season despite losing all six games that he started. He was the incumbent starter heading into the 2008 regular season, but suffered a shoulder injury in the Chiefs' first game. Croyle returned in Week 7 but suffered a torn MCL and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.


Barkley at an event in 2004

Charles Wade Barkley (born February 20, 1963 in Leeds, Alabama) is an American retired professional basketball player. Barkley established himself as one of the National Basketball Association's most dominating power forwards and was selected to the All-NBA First Team and All-NBA Second Team five times and once named to the All-NBA Third Team. He earned eleven NBA All-Star Game appearances and was named the All-Star MVP in 1991. In 1993, he was voted the league's Most Valuable Player and during the NBA's 50th anniversary, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States' Dream Team. In 2006, Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Since retiring as a player, Barkley has had a successful career as an Emmy Award-winning color commentator on basketball. He works with Turner Network Television (TNT) as a studio pundit for its coverage of NBA games. In addition, Barkley has written several books and has also shown an interest in politics; in October 2008, he announced that he will be running for Governor of Alabama in 2014.


Charles Edward Fonville (April 27, 1927 – July 13, 1994) was an American athlete from Birmingham, Alabama who set a world record in the shot put. In 1945, he was named the Michigan High School Track & Field Athlete of the Year. He won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) shot put championship in 1947 and 1948. Competing for the University of Michigan at the Kansas Relays in April 1948, Fonville broke a 14-year-old world record, throwing the shot a foot further than the record.

Fonville was considered the favorite for the 1948 Olympic gold medal, after he won the Big Ten indoor shot put championship, but a back injury prevented him from qualifying for the Games. Fonville finished fourth, despite having broken the world record just three months earlier. After undergoing back surgery in November 1948, Fonville sat out the 1949 season, but came back in 1950 to win his third Big Ten Conference shot put championship. Fonville later became a lawyer and practiced law in Detroit, Michigan for 40 years. He was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1979, as part of the second class of inductees. Fonville died at the University of Michigan Hospital at the age of 67.


Rice's official State Department portrait

Condoleezza Rice (born November 14, 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama) is a professor, diplomat, author, and national security expert. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and the second in the administration of President George W. Bush to hold the office. Rice was the first black woman, second African American , and the second woman to serve as Secretary of State. Rice was President Bush's National Security Advisor during his first term. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. During the administration of George H.W. Bush, Rice served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.

As Secretary of State, Rice pioneered a policy of Transformational Diplomacy with a focus on democracy in the greater Middle East. While Secretary of State, she chaired the Millennium Challenge Corporation's board of directors. In March 2009, Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.


March during a medal presentation for the US Army

William March (born William Edward Campbell September 18, 1893 – May 15, 1954) was an American author from Mobile, Alabama, cited as being "the unrecognized genius of our time." His novels intertwine his own personal torment with the conflicts spawned by unresolved class, family, sexual, and racial matters. His innovative writing style is characterized by a deep compassion and understanding of suffering. A champion of the poor and disadvantaged, March often presents characters who, through no fault of their own, are victims of chance and that freedom can only be obtained by being true to one's nature and humanity.

William March was born and raised in and around Mobile, Alabama, to a poor, itinerant family. Having ten other siblings, March was afforded no privileges and by the age of 14 had dropped out of school and taken employment in Lockhart, Alabama, in the office of a lumber mill. Two years later March returned to Mobile and found employment in a local law office. By 1913, March had saved enough money to take a high school course at Valparaiso University in Indiana and later returned to Alabama to study law at the University of Alabama.


Hicks performs for troops aboard the USS Ronald Reagan

Taylor Reuben Hicks (born October 7, 1976 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American singer who achieved fame in 2006 as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol, which he won later that year. Hicks got his start as a professional musician in his late teens and performed around the Southeastern United States for well over the span of a decade, during which he also released two independent albums. Hicks graduated from Hoover High School in 1995 and briefly pursued a major in business and journalism at Auburn University.

Upon winning Idol, Hicks was signed to Arista Records, under which his self-titled major label debut was released on December 12, 2006. His energetic stage performances and influences derived from classic rock, blues, and R&B music had earned him a following of devout fans, who have been dubbed the "Soul Patrol." He is currently on tour in Grease playing Teen Angel, the role originated by Alan Paul. A new CD, The Distance, was released March 10, 2009, with the first single, "What's Right Is Right", going to AC adds January 27, 2009. The second single was confirmed to be "Seven Mile Breakdown" via his MySpace page.



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