(The University Press of Kentucky, $25.00/hardcover, $17.95 paperback) Kitty Oliver takes readers on a journey of exploration from her hometown of Jacksonville to the halls of the University of Florida as one of its first African American freshmen in 1965 and far beyond. One reviewer describes it as “a thinking woman’s memoir of a journey with many side trips” in her search for a sense of “home.” With humor, poignancy, and lyrical language (reminiscent at times of another Florida writer, Zora Neale Hurston), Oliver shares her passages from the “old world” to the new as an immigrant’s journey, indicative of the American experience. Blending past and present, she searches for roots from the Gullah or “Geechee” culture of South Carolina to the urban streets of northern Florida to the multicultural mix of South Florida, exploring America, Europe and Africa. These autobiographical essays are an upbeat journal – part travelogue, part memoir, described as “a delightful field trip” that’s educational, too. Part of the Women in Southern Culture series. For information and ordering contact The University Press of Kentucky (1-800-839-6855).
A native Floridian, she specializes in books, television and radio documentaries, and literary performances which explore race and ethnic issues in innovative ways. She has produced landmark research documenting the state’s mushrooming diversity that has become a mirror of American society and speaks widely on African American history.
She pioneered the cross-cultural “Race and Change” research project in South Florida that has expanded to Ghana, West Africa. The work has resulted in an historical archive of oral histories on race, a multimedia website on race, and consulting for historical, tourism, social service, and government organizations.
Her public television and video productions are used widely by schools and libraries She is producer and host of the 10-part series “Crossing Cultures/Changing Lives”, airing on WBEC-TV. In addition, she produces videos, podcasts, and blogs on race and ethnic relations and changes across generations. She is a lecturer and workshop leader on creative nonfiction writing techniques and memoir writing, and a professional jazz singer. She conducts community oral history field work and is a member of the Oral History Association.