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Debra A. Varnado

educator, was born in Jacksonville, Texas, the fifth of seven children of George W. Crouch, a Methodist minister, and Mary Ragsdale Crouch. Known by the nickname “Red,” Crouch graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in Jacksonville in 1923, but his family would relocate twenty-six miles to the north in Tyler, Texas, which he considered his hometown.

In Tyler, the Crouches lived in a home with a view of Texas College, a historically black school run by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church). In 1927 Crouch earned a BA in Biology from Texas College His father an elder in the church wanted him to teach at the school after graduation Instead Crouch left for Dallas for a brief but lucrative stint selling insurance Crouch would later forgo insurance sales for a future in science and education applying to graduate school ...

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Virginia Whatley Smith

Diane Alene Oliver lived only twenty-two years, but she left a legacy of short stories to earn her recognition. Born 28 July 1943, Oliver grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, where her passage into adolescence coincided with the racial upheavals in the Charlotte–Mecklenburg school system. The Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, mandating desegregation of public schools. Oliver never capitulated to notions of racial inferiority and went on to graduate from West Charlotte High School.

In 1960, she enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; that marked the beginning of an auspicious writing career. Oliver served as managing editor of The Carolinian, the campus newspaper; studied under poet Randall Jarrell; and also began to write short stories. A career break occurred when Oliver won the guest editorship for the June 1964 edition of Mademoiselle magazine in its ...