Bailey Thomson, chairman and founder of ACCR, passed away November 26, 2003 after suffering a heart attack. His death at the mere age of 54 leaves ACCR, as well as many throughout Alabama, shocked and saddened. Not only was Bailey the state’s leading fighter in constitutional reform, but he was also a father, husband, friend, teacher and writer who affected countless lives.
Though he may be gone, his passion for helping the people of Alabama lives on. The fight will be hard and lonely without him, but we will continue what Bailey began.
About Bailey Thomson
Bailey Thomson was born a farm boy in Aliceville, Ala., the youngest of eight children to Bill and Becky Thomson. Thomson’s father died when Bailey was only 14, and to make ends meet, he began working at local newspapers. And so the newspaperman was born..
Thomson’s journalism career spanned 25 years, during which he worked for the Huntsville Times, Tuscaloosa News, Shreveport, La. Journal (folded in 1991) and Orlando Sentinel in Florida. In 1992, he became the associate editor of the Mobile Register.
It was at the Register that Thomson first became involved in constitutional reform. While there, he directed a special investigation of Alabama’s antiquated constitution, titled “Sin of the Fathers,” an editorial series he and two colleagues wrote. The series linked current problems in the state to the 1901 constitution, and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1995.
In 1999, an editorial series Thomson wrote for the Mobile Register about Alabama, titled “Dixie’s Broken Heart,” won the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Another editorial series, “Century of Shame,” won the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association’s Carmage Walls Distinguished Writing Award.
Thomson continued his fight for reform and served as editor and contributor to a book of essays published by the University of Alabama Press titled “Century of Controversy: The 1901 Alabama Constitution.”
After holding a rally in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2000, Thomson founded the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform as part of a grass-roots movement for civic renewal and constitutional revision.
Thomson held a B.A. and an M.A. in American history and a Ph.D. in communication history, earning all three from the University of Alabama. After receiving his doctorate in 1995, Thomson became an associate professor in 1997 and full professor in 2003.
Thomson is survived by his wife of 26 years, Kristi, a Brookwood Middle School teacher, and their daughter, Sarah, a sophomore theatre major at UA.
For more information about Bailey Thomson, click here.
(Photograph by Photograph by Michael E. Palmer; Courtesy of encyclopediaofalabama.org)