Autumn 2010: Register

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Alumni Ink

Claiming Her Roots

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By Alyssa Young 11C

New York seems like the antithesis of the natural world—concrete, traffic, and lots of people. But Dianne Glave 10T’s memories of growing up in Queens are of her father’s garden patch, her mother’s stories of life in Jamaica, and cave-crawling adventures on weekend camping trips.

Glave went on to study environmental history at Stony Brook University, all the while asking herself why African Americans never had a place in the material she studied. Her recent book, Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage, traces the history of the African American relationship to the natural world. The historical novel includes firsthand accounts from enslaved blacks, archival analysis, and travel-based research.

As people become more environmentally and ecologically conscious, Glave says, the book’s themes are based in African American history, but also have universal appeal. “It’s commonly held that African Americans are not connected to the environment,” she says, “but history says something different.”

In Hot Off the Presses, a gay newspaper editor covering the Atlanta Olympic Games struggles to balance journalistic ethics and personal relationships. A former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter, Elliott Mackle 77PhD says his novel is based in part on his experience covering the Olympics in 1996 in addition to volunteer work at Jerusalem House, a residence for homeless and low-income people with HIV/AIDS. Mackle was founding cochair of Emory’s Gay and Lesbian Alumni chapter.

Elizabeth Coursen 81C put herself through college by starting a lawn care service and was the only girl on the ice hockey team. While her quirky past might seem fit for fiction, she’s written a how-to book with the self-biographer in mind. The Complete Biography Workbook organizes life into six age-specific chapters that can be completed independently or turned into a fun intergenerational project. Coursen will “preach the gospel of biography writing” at Tall Tales Book Shop in Atlanta’s Toco Hills on November 10 at 7:00 p.m. and the William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum on December 19 at 2:00 p.m.

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