Former State Sen. Hank Erwin to speak in Troy on 'Woodlawn' experiences

Posted: Thursday, 18 August 2016

TROY - Former State Sen. Hank Erwin, a focus of the 2015 movie "Woodlawn," will be in the Troy this month speaking about the experience that transformed the Birmingham-area high school in the midst of the '70s racial strife.

Erwin will address the University community at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22 in Claudia Crosby Theater, and the Pike County community at large at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at the Johnson Center for the Arts in downtown Troy, to which the public is invited.

A 1972 graduate of Troy State University, Erwin served as chaplain to schools in the Birmingham area, working with the football team at Woodlawn High School during the 1973-74 school year. Events of that year are portrayed in the movie, shot on location in Birmingham by Erwin's sons, filmmakers Jon and Andrew Erwin. The movie was released in October 2015.

'Woodlawn' depicts the turmoil surrounding the integration of the high school and the spiritual awakening that swept the football team, uniting the players, the school and the community. Erwin and Birmingham evangelist Wales Goebel had addressed the football team during its camp, where Erwin says most of the team made professions of faith and spurred his service as team chaplain.

Elected to the Alabama Senate in 2002, Erwin served until 2010. He spent more than 35 years in the radio and television industry in the state. He and his wife, Shelia, a 1973 TROY graduate, met and married in Troy.

"As our country again struggles with racial concerns, this is a timely movie that deals with this struggle, and Hank coming to share will be a great opportunity to hear firsthand how God changed lives and brought healing to a community," said Brad Bensinger, Baptist Campus Ministries campus minister.