posted April 4, 2006

Author Discusses Racial Harmony in Michigan’s Past

Author Anna-Lisa Cox will discuss the beginnings of Covert as a racially integrated community in the 1860s on Tuesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at Hope College in the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Cox, who is a 1994 Hope graduate, is the author of "A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith," released earlier this year. In contrast to the practice of the times, blacks and whites in Covert treated each other as equals and friends. In the community, which is located in southwest Michigan in Van Buren County, schools and churches were completely integrated, blacks and whites intermarried, and power and wealth were shared by both races.

Cox became interested in the topic of Covert as a Hope student enrolled in a Senior Seminar taught by Dr. William Cohen, who is now retired as professor emeritus of history. She subsequently spent 10 years conducting research for "A Stronger Kinship," drawing upon private diaries, overlooked documents, oral histories and contemporary records.

Cox is currently a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library of Chicago, Ill. She has received numerous awards for her research, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars Award while a Hope student, a Pew Younger Scholars Fellowship and a Gilder Lehrman Foundation Fellowship.

She majored in history at Hope. She received her M.Phil. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge, and her Ph.D. in American history from the University of Illinois.

A native of Holland, she is the daughter of Dr. John Cox of the Hope English faculty and Karen Cox. She attributes her interest in the issue of racial equality to her parents as passionate believers in integration and equal rights for all Americans. Her mother was an active participant in the Civil Rights struggles in Chicago in the late 1960s.

In addition to researching and writing about issues surrounding race relations in the Midwest, Cox is a committed volunteer for City Light's Partners in Education Program. Since 1998, she has done intensive one-on-one tutoring of inner-city minority students through the program. Since 2001 she has also been active in City Light's scholarship program, which awards scholarships to tutoring students who have been accepted to private high schools in Chicago.

The Martha Miller Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 10th Street.