Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
Roy L. Williams            
Director of Public Relations        
Birmingham Public Library             
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067
Personal cell (205) 572-1359
Roderick Royal to present "Mentoring the A.G. Gaston Way at the Birmingham Public Library

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama—it’s been 40 years, but Roderick Royal still vividly remembers the day  when at age 11 while visiting  the A.G. Gaston Boys  Club on Seventh Avenue North  he asked the black millionaire who founded the club if he could drive his car. 
“He said, ‘Sure,’ and as he reached for his keys I asked how much he would pay me. Dr. Gaston told me “You don’t get paid for everything you do. It was the first of many lessons Dr. Gaston taught me and many other boys.”

In October, Royal will share other advice he gained over a friendship that lasted from age 11 until Dr. Gaston died at age 103 over a decade ago in a series of talks he will give during the month of October at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL). He will make a presentation, “Mentoring the A.G. Gaston Way” at the following libraries: 

•    Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, 10 a.m., Smithfield Branch Library, #1 8th Ave. West
•    Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, 12 p.m. at North Birmingham Regional Library, 2501 31st Ave. North
•    Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, 3 p.m., Five Points West Regional Library, 4812 Ave. W
•    Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, 6 p.m., Pratt City Branch Library, 509 Dugan Ave.  

After each discussion about lessons both the young and old can learn from Gaston, Royal will sign copies of his new book, “A.G. & Me: Intersection Road and Friendship with A.G. Gaston.”  His 70-page book is available for $16.99 at Books-A-Million and online on the store’s website. 

Gaston, who was born on July 4, 1892, is well-known for his phenomenal story of rising from poverty in rural Alabama to building a business empire that included a bank, insurance company, funeral home, business school, hotel, funeral home and other entities. But Royal’s book shows a personal side of the millionaire who was known for his giving spirit (he gave away much of his businesses to employees through establishing an Employee Stock Option Plan).
“Through my book, I show a side of Dr. Gaston that not many people know about,” Royal said. “He was a great influence in my life. My hope is that in this lecture other people can help mentor our youth.”

For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 129 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.
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