A retired anthropologist and a member of the University of Alabama Emeritus faculty, Margaret Zehmer Searcy continues her special mission to teach students of all cultures and ages about the richness of Native American culture.
Searcy's series for the intermediate reader is based upon extensive archaeological data and ethno-historic accounts. All of the details in Eyr the Hunter: A Story of Ice-Age America have been carefully researched. Searcy visited an archaeological site that had been occupied by a band society. She also studied Arctic animals and viewed the bones of the extinct giant animals that are depicted in the story. In addition, she read reports about more modern bands who hunted elephants (closely related to ancient mammoths) with spears.
Ikwa of the Mound-Builder Indians was dramatized on Alabama Public Television and aired numerous times as a part of the school curriculum. In 1976, Ikwa of the Mound-Builder Indians won the Charlton W. Tebeau Prize of the Florida Historical Society for the “best children's or young adults' book dealing with a Florida-related subject.” Pelican has reissued Ikwa and has released the companion volumes to this acclaimed book, Wolf Dog of the Woodland Indians and The Charm of the Bear Claw Necklace.
Her fact and fantasy series for the younger reader adapts Indian myths and legends to the problems of the multi-ethnic classroom, while teaching basic biology.
Searcy is also the author of numerous other publications, including articles, filmstrips, and tapes. The Mysterious Mound-Builder Indians of the Southeast is her most recent filmstrip/cassette. Manuscripts of some of her books are a part of the DeGrummond collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her work is known internationally and has been approved for distribution by various institutions such as RIF and the Smithsonian.
Searcy has served as president of the Alabama Archaeological Society, vice-president of the Alabama Academy of Science, and she is active in a number of professional and civic groups. She is a founding member and former chairperson of the Guild of Professional Writers for Children.
In 1979, Searcy was chosen as “Educator of the Year” by the Gamma Psi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, and she was also chosen as “Woman of the Year” by the Tuscaloosa chapter of Business and Professional Women.
In 1980, Searcy was named “A Woman of Distinction” for her contribution to Southern culture by Auburn University; in 1984, she received a United States Presidents' acknowledgment—signed by Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan—for twenty-five years of volunteer work with juveniles in crime prevention and diversion programs. The Alabama Humanities Foundation selected her as a Humanities lecturer for 1988 and 1989.
Margaret Zehmer Searcy and her husband, Joseph Alexander Searcy, currently reside in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.