African American Literature Read-In to be Held at Lane

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African American Literature Read-In to be Held at Lane

Feb 6, 2020


Jackson, Tenn. (February 6, 2020) - Lane College is proud to announce acclaimed educator and author Juanita Austin is bringing her African American Literature Read-In to Lane from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12 in the Cyber Cafe on the Lane College campus. Juanita Austin was born and raised in Haywood County, Tennessee. She is a product of the Brownsville Public School System, graduating in 1971.

She is a proud magna cum laude graduate of Lane College where she earned a baccalaureate degree in business education. She earned MA and SCT degrees from Murray State University. Additional graduate work was completed at Appalachian State University and at the University of North Texas. She was a twice-selected Kellogg Fellow and was chosen for the inaugural honor of outstanding educator by the prestigious Plano (TX) Community Forum in 2005. During her professional career, Austin was a college professor in Arkansas, college counselor in Kentucky, counselor at the University of Maryland in College Park, program director in Catonsville, Maryland, ending her professional career in 2010 after 24 years as an academic dean at Collin College in Plano, Texas.

Austin is a family researcher and historian. To date, she has documented 3,000+ maternal and paternal family members. Most notable among her relatives is her maternal great-great grandfather, Shadrach Thomas, who was born enslaved and remained enslaved for 37 years. After his emancipation in 1865, he filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission, successfully defending his case. His prized horse, one he saved coins for and purchased during his enslavement, was confiscated by Union soldiers when they marched through Brownsville during the Civil War. His case was decided, in his favor, in Washington, DC in 1878.

Titled "Walking Forward Into the Past," Austin is writing a book about her maternal great-great- grandfather and many other family members.

Austin loves to travel. She has toured 45 of the 50 United States, 35 different international countries, Africa nine times, and all seven continents. Her travels granted her many amazing life experiences. Most memorable among them was when she knelt at the Door of No Return on Goree Island in Senegal, West Africa, met the oldest surviving relative of Mr. Alex Haley in the west African village of Juffereh in The Gambia, explored The Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt in East Africa;,climbed Machupicchu, Peru in South America, and toured Robben Island Prison (where President Nelson Mandela was imprisioned for 18 of his 27 years of incarceration) in South Africa.

She toured the all-mud Grand Mosque in Timbuktu in Mali, West Africa, observed artistic elephants as they painted pictures with their trunks and paint brushes in Thailand, Southeast Asia, cruised the longest river in the world, the Nile River, in East Africa, and, in 2008, set foot on and walked among penguins on the icy shores of Antarctica.

Juanita’s hobbies include reading, writing, gardening, sewing and, assisted fishing.