Guest Speaker: Helene Cooper, Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Location: April 21st at 7PM in the Library, 7th floor
Helene Cooper grew up as the privileged child of the Liberian political aristocracy, descendants of freed American blacks who founded Liberia in 1821. On the eve of the 1980 revolution in Liberia just about everyone in the government was either a relative or connected in some way to her family. Her uncle was foreign minister and she and her sisters, one biological and one adopted, watched on television the execution of her uncle and other relatives and family friends, before her own immediate family fled after getting visas to the U.S. Continuing her childhood, with her adoptive sister left behind in Liberia, Helene experienced racism for the first after moving to the American South. She returned to Liberia for the first time 23 years later, a return she wrote about last April as the cover story in the New York Times Magazine. In the meantime she has grown up to be one of this country's top journalists, going from the Wall Street Journal to the NY Times, where she was the assistant editorial page editor, then the diplomatic correspondent and now is the White House correspondent who often gets in the first question at President Obama's press conferences. She has won honors from the Merage Foundation for the American Dream and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
As part of the Humanities Forum and with support from the English department, she will be reading from her memoir, The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost Childhood and sharing stories about her past and how it has shaped her life and writing as a journalist.