Roanoke College

Secret History: The Centrality of African-American Literature Subject of Lecture

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SALEM, Va.-Author David Wyatt, professor of English at the University of Maryland in College Park and co-owner of L'avventura restaurant in Charlottesville, will make a presentation, "Secret History: The Centrality of African-American Literature," at Roanoke College Tuesday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Massengill Auditorium. The public is invited to attend at no charge.

Does America's literature give us access to a secret, challenging the history of our nation? Are "African-American" and "European-American" literatures two separate traditions? Can a white scholar write effectively about black history and art? Wyatt's answers to these questions are yes, no and yes, and the path by which he has arrived at them is surprising and illuminating. He will discuss that path as part of Roanoke College's "Connections" celebration. Secret History is the working title of his new book-in-progress, in which he explores the "unofficial" history of the United States revealed by American literature. Secret History will be his sixth book.

Wyatt's previous book, released this fall on 9/11, is a memoir And the War Came: An Accidental Memoir. It deals in part with a life juggling the roles of husband, father, son, friend and citizen under the shadow of the September 11 attacks. This "Accidental Memoir" provides a day-by-day chronicle of how one family and set of friends lived through and were changed by the events of that fall. It is not a story about heroism, but rather about the complex emotions available to any American who was not at Ground Zero but who nevertheless felt the impact and absorbed the blow. Located primarily in Charlottesville, the memoir is also an affectionate portrait of the people and landscapes of Central Virginia.

Wyatt's four previous books are Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California; Out of the Sixties: Storytelling and the Vietnam Generation; The Fall into Eden: Landscape and Imagination in California; and Prodigal Sons: A Study in Authorship and Authority.

Wyatt's visit to campus is sponsored by the college's English Department and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

For further information, please call the Office of Multicultural Affairs, (540) 375-2099.