BYRON HERBERT REECE SOCIETY
The purpose of the Byron Herbert Reece Society is to preserve, perpetuate, and promote the literary and cultural legacy of the Georgia mountain poet/novelist, Byron Herbert Reece. In addition to enhancing both knowledge of and appreciation for his writings, efforts will be made to honor his way of life, with particular emphasis on his love of nature and his attachment to farming.
- Promote a wider distribution and accessibility of all publications related to the life and works of Reece, including his books and correspondence and all biographies and anthologies. [THROUGH PUBLICITY AND ACTIVE BOOK SALES, THIS EFFORT IS ONGOING.]
- Make a concerted effort to utilize to greater educational advantage the tapes of his readings and such productions about him as the Emmy-award winning film “The Bitter Berry,” reader’s theatre scripts of his life and literature, and any additional educational materials produced by the Society or other interested parties.
- Complete the oral history project in which persons who knew Reece, including family members and close friends/correspondents, are interviewed for the purpose of acquiring information and insights concerning the writer and his personal history. [TWO DVDs PRODUCED; ADDITIONAL VIDEO-TAPING UNDERWAY.]
- Based on the oral history interviews, establish a permanent collection of the pertinent recollections by producing additional DVDs, CDs, tapes, books, or other written records. [FAITHFULLY YOURS: THE LETTERS OF BHR; VOICES: FINDING BYRON HERBERT REECE video/dvd; written accounts of several Reece acquaintances.]
- Plan an annual meeting of the Reece Society, which includes a special program featuring scholarly, dramatic, or informative presentations that emphasize specific aspects of the Byron Herbert Reece legacy. This event should have both educative and inspirational intent. [EIGHT SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS HAVE BEEN HELD TO DATE.]
- Encourage the creation of original musical/dramatic compositions and productions based on Reece’s life and literature. [JIM CLARK’S “The Service of Song” CD, consisting of 12 Reece poems set to music — available for purchase through the Society.]
- Explore all avenues for convincing the decision-makers to include samples of Reece’s poetry in textbook anthologies at both the high school and college levels.
- Follow through on the lease obtained to the Reece family property on Wolf Creek by pursuing a long-range plan of development in which this site will become an interpretive center featuring Reece, his works, and his way of life. This venue is known as The Byron Herbert Reece Farm & Heritage Center. [WORK HERE IS ONGOING; APPROXIMATELY ONE-HALF OF THE TOTAL PROJECT IS COMPLETED, FUNDING IS BEING SOUGHT TO COMPLETE THE PROJECTED SITE FACILITIES.]
- Create a long-range plan for funding the farm development project as well as other goals, projects, and programs of the Society. [ALMOST ONE-HALF OF THE GOALS HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED.]
- Make a special effort to introduce Reece and his works to institutions of learning, from secondary schools through graduate schools, and throughout the local region, the southeast, and all across the nation. [A MAJOR PROJECT WELL UNDERWAY, LED BY THE REECE IN THE SCHOOLS COMMITTEE.]
- Conduct an inventory to determine all of the important Reece memorabilia, archives, and objects of biographical or cultural interest that are available to the Society, and decide how and where to display these. [PARTIALLY COMPLETED]
- Provide an ongoing forum for all persons interested in and devoted to the Byron Herbert Reece way of life and lyrical tradition – a forum that enables the legacy of Reece to be enlivened and his rightful place in the literary world enhanced. [THE SOCIETY HAS PARTICIPATED IN AND CONDUCTED A NUMBER OF SUCH FORUMS.]
- Continue to enlist individual and corporate members of the Society, thus ensuring an ever larger base of persons interested in preserving his legacies. [ONGOING WITH INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS; CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP HAS NOT BEEN CULTIVATED.]
- Enlist the cooperation of local organizations like historical societies and chambers of commerce in achieving our stated goals. [SEVERAL EXAMPLES OF THIS CAN BE CITED.]
- Make application to the Georgia Historical Marker Program of the Georgia Historical Society for an historical marker about Reece, to be placed at the family home site on Highway 129. [THE MARKER WAS INSTALLED AND DEDICATED IN JUNE OF 2006.]
- Petition the Georgia General Assembly to name Reece “Georgia’s Appalachian Poet/Novelist “ and to designate Highway 129 from Blairsville to Neels Gap “The Byron Herbert Reece Memorial Highway.” [ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S HR 295, PASSED IN 2005.]