On Our Radar: Atlanta History Center’s Fall Author Talks

Atlanta’s steady growth as a literary nexus is striking in the Atlanta History Center’s fall Author Program lineup, with two local African-American writers appearing to discuss their new books during the series. Themes commanding attention in the fall series include the Civil War (with appearances by authors of five diverse books), and food (the focus of three programs).

Anissa Gray, author of “The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls,” will discuss her debut novel with ArtsATL’s Gail O’Neill on Sept. 7, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Margaret Mitchell House; and Jelani Favors, telling the history behind historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in “Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism,” will be on hand at the Margaret Mitchell House at 7 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2019.

In “The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls,” Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with, and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.

Its author Gray is a senior editor at CNN Worldwide. She began her career at Reuters as a New York-based reporter covering business news and international finance. Born in St. Joseph, Mich., Gray studied English and American literature at New York University. 

For generations, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been essential institutions for the African American community. Their nurturing environments not only provided educational advancement, but also catalyzed the black freedom struggle, forever altering the political destiny of the United States. In this book, Jelani M. Favors offers a history of HBCUs from the 1837 founding of Cheyney State University to the present, told through the lens of how they fostered student activism.

Favors chronicles the development and significance of HBCUs through stories from institutions such as Cheyney State, Tougaloo College, Bennett College, Alabama State University, Jackson State University, Southern University, and North Carolina A&T. He demonstrates how HBCUs became a refuge during the oppression of the Jim Crow era and illustrates the central role their campus communities played during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Throughout this definitive history of how HBCUs became a vital seedbed for politicians, community leaders, reformers, and activists, Favors emphasizes what he calls an unwritten “second curriculum” at HBCUs, one that offered students a grounding in idealism, racial consciousness, and cultural nationalism.

Favors is associate professor of history at Clayton State University.

Admission for lectures is $10 general public, $5 for members, and free to AHC Insiders, unless otherwise noted. 

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