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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Letter to the Editor

Germantown School celebrates author


The Germantown School Community Heritage Center is a vital source of community pride, historical significance and educational outreach In the Berlin area.

Over the past few months under the effective leadership of President Barbara Purnell, board members, and many faithful volunteers the school has sponsored many events including the very popular series “Veterans Voices” during the month of January.

On Saturday, Feb. 24, at Celebrity Stephen Decatur High School auditorium a diverse group of nearly 400 people came to support our Black History event. A book presentation by renowned author Ta-Nehisi Coates was well received as he shared his story. Mr. Coates has intimate ties to Berlin having spent many summers here with his family including his aunts, uncles, and cousins. He has a strong sense of “family” and it’s “connectiveness” to his well-being. Having to navigate the mean streets of Baltimore during his childhood, this country setting brought him a sense of safety, peace and nurtured his creativity.

Mr. Coates has authored six books, which is amazing considering he confessed to not being a good student. I found it easy to get emerged in times and places he transports us through his writing.

The book “Between the World and Me” was on the Bestseller’s List and also selected for Oprah’s Book Club 2012. His book entitled “The Water Dancer” was on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Its background setting is the farms and fields of the Eastern Shore.

In his books, Mr. Coates elaborates on the personal, cultural and social challenges of slavery and the very difficult movement toward freedom. Mr. Coates’ books provide minute details and vivid descriptions throughout the pages. Prepared discussion questions were focused but could have stifled a lively discussion on the realities of living in a segregated small town that was slow to change.

Those in attendance said that Mr. Coates was enthusiastic, positive and encouraging. He retained good memories of Berlin. There is also comfort in knowing you can always “come home again.” We are so proud of Ta-Nehisi Coates and all his accomplishments. Listening to this presentation inspired us to look at our own creative nature to see what we can bring to the world.

Betty Smith