Library Partnership Encourages Area Students to Dream Big

Alabama Power Company (APCO), the A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club, and the Birmingham Public Library will launch the A.G. Gaston American Dream Entrepreneur contest for area students with the first of two panel discussions with local entrepreneurs. Students who attend one of two panel discussions and submit a business idea will be eligible to win a laptop computer.

Students in grades 5-12 are eligible to participate in the contest. To be eligible to win a laptop, students must attend one of two panel discussions taking place Friday, June 14, at the Central Library, and Monday, June 24, at the Smithfield Library. Both panels will take place at noon.

Through the contest, partner organizations hope to introduce young people to the late A.G. Gaston, who rose above poverty and discrimination to build a long list of successful Birmingham companies.

Participating students will be encouraged to read Gaston's memoir, Green Power, which was recently republished for the first time in four decades. The book tells Gaston’s story, from his first foray into business, selling rides on a swing in his grandmother’s backyard, to the founding of the Booker T. Washington Burial Society, to his expansion into a host of other prosperous enterprises, including a motel, a real estate company, and a life insurance company. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to the A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club. The book is available on the club’s website,, and on Amazon.

This contest, along with a gallery exhibit at APCO's archives museum that opens June 13, are part of the company’s ongoing “Power of Leadership” commemoration, which focuses on celebrating some of the unheralded leaders of the civil rights movement: pioneers of business.

“We’re excited to continue our 50th anniversary commemoration with this art exhibit, and with an education initiative we hope will inspire a new generation of Birmingham leaders,” said John Hudson, Alabama Power’s vice president of public relations and charitable giving.

For more information about the exhibit and the American Dream contest, contact Robin Oliver: or 205-322-7557. For more information about the 50th anniversary of Birmingham’s civil rights movement and the most up-to-date listing of events, please visit