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In My Place


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About the Author

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a journalist and former NPR correspondent. She chronicled her experience as one of the first two black students to enroll in the University of Georgia in her memoir In My Place. Hunter-Gault also received two Emmys and a Peabody for her work on the NewsHour series, Apartheid's People. Her other works include To the Mountaintops: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement and New News Out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance.


In this warmhearted, well-observed memoir, the national correspondent for the MacNeil-LehrerNewsHour reflects on her childhood and young adulthood, including her historic role as one of two black students who desegregated the University of Georgia in 196 1. Dwelling a bit too much on her family history and descriptions of the southern towns where she grew up, Hunter-Gault identifies many of the forces that shaped her: strong teachers, good friends and a dignified father struggling as a chaplain in a racist Army. After attending a largely white school in Alaska, she spent her high school years in the supportive black environment of L.A.-Lovely Atlanta. She downplays her heroism at the University of Georgia in order to highlight the heady but humbling feelings she derived from other blacks' pride in her. She tells of harassment and support in those dramatic years, as well as of her growth as a journalist, her public speaking tours and even her romance with a white Southerner. She concludes, a bit awkwardly, with the commencement address she delivered at her alma mater in 1988; this work hints, however, that Hunter-Gault could write a rich sequel. (Nov.)

YA-- A vivid feeling of place and immediacy pervades this moving memoir of the first black woman to graduate from the University of Georgia. It is the story of growing up in Alaska on a military base and in small towns in Georgia during the stable 1950s and coming-of-age during the turbulent 1960s. Taught by her father, a military chaplain, that she deserved the best, and loved unconditionally by her mother and extended family, Hunter-Gault shows how she was emotionally equipped to face loneliness, ostracism, and even violence for the cause of civil rights. Her story is about the universal adolescent search for one's place in the family, among one's peers, in the community, and eventually in the world. It is also a compelling documentation of the ugly turmoil of the times. An inspiring historical journey.-- Jackie Gropman, Richard Byrd Library, Springfield, VA

"In My Place is Charlayne Hunter-Gault's richly readable reminiscence of growing up black and middle class in the segregated South, and acquiring in that warm and caring environment the cold courage required to desegregate the University of Georgia."--Derrick Bell

"Charlayne Hunter-Gault's moving, warm, frank autobiography is more than a personal chronicle. It is the biography of her generation for it epitomizes the experience of many courageous Black students who led the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It is essential reading for those who want to acquire a better understanding of the impact that the sixties generation had on America."--Joyce A. Ladner, Harvard University

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