Ohio has a rich literary heritage as well as some wonderful contemporary authors. Learn more about them here! You can sort by various categories and see who has participated in our annual book festival by using the category search on the left, or search by keyword (including partial author names) by using the search field on the right.
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Deseree Mitchell Liddell was born on October 15, 1925, in Lexington, Mississippi, and grew up under some of the nation’s harshest Jim Crow laws.
In 1951, she and her husband moved to Ravenna, Ohio, becoming residents of Skeels Allotment, one of the local designated-Black areas. There she fought to get basic living conditions such as water and sewer, natural gas lines, and streetlights for her community. She was also instrumental in getting African American teachers and administrators in the Ravenna School System.
She taught school in both Mississippi and Ohio, and in the 1960s, she started a youth group and a senior citizens club in her home. Her goal was to promote community pride, self-awareness, and social, economic, and educational awareness within the African American communities.
Mrs. Liddell was instrumental in getting a community center for the Skeels neighborhood and was the center’s first director. At age 97, she is still active in events at the center.
In 1991, a group of community residents founded the Deseree Liddell Minority Scholarship Fund in her honor. The proceeds of her memoir go to this fund and are awarded to high school seniors to help further their education.
Collaborator Mary Louise Ruehr was born in Ravenna, Ohio. A graduate of Kent State University, she has spent her career in communications. For 12 years she was a writer and editor at the Record-Courier, the daily newspaper covering Portage County. There she wrote a popular column, “One for the Books,” featuring book reviews and reading-related topics. The column is now featured in ThePortager.com, an online news source.