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‘A Ghostly Shade of Pale’ author speaks to AWM students

Merle Temple shares career highlights, literaiy viewpoints with criminology class

By the Times News Staff Merle Temple, published author of several books, visited the Academies of West Memphis recently to speak with students about a variety of topics, including the first drug wars, the counterculture of the ‘60s and ‘70s, crime and corruption in and around the Memphis area in that era, and “how the seeds sown in those days still haunt us today.”

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Merle Temple joined the FBI in Washington just after high school. He moved back to Mississippi where he earned bachelor and master’s degrees in Criminal Justice at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

In the 1970s he went to work for the newly formed Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) and became the first Captain in the Bureau. He is a graduate of the DEA Academy and the New England Institute of Management.

While working undercover, he had many close encounters with drug dealers and organized crime. He also worked as a Special Internal Affairs investigator at the MBN.

After leaving the MBN, Temple held various positions over the years including professor at Augusta State University, a Bell System Security Manager, education chair for the Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Care Management Consultants Chair, and Deputy Superintendent of Education for the state of Georgia.

Temple has been honored with the American Legion Award and received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Mississippi.

Temple took up writing when he retired. His books, “A Rented World” and “A Ghostly Shade of Pale” are inspired by his real life experiences, experiences he shared with AWM criminology students.

Mississippi State University is using one of his books in a history class this semester. Itawamba Community College made “A Ghostly Shade of Pale” required reading for all English students. Prisons use Temple’s works and high schools around the South use both books in English and history classes. Temple’s visit to West Memphis was a collaboration between Mr. Brown’s AWM Library, helmed by librarian Norrita Langston.

Author and former law enforcement agent Merle Temple addressed a group of West Memphis students recently, recalling tales from his career and spending time with the students.

Submitted photos

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