Tuesday, May 19, 7pm CST
Left Bank Books' Facebook Page
Left Bank Books welcomes local author Vivian Gibson, who will discuss her new memoir, The Last Children of Mill Creek, on Facebook Live at 7pm CST on May 19. Gibson will be in conversation with St. Louis native and journalist Ryan Schuessler. Join us on our Facebook Page and order a copy of The Last Children of Mill Creek from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores!
Vivian Gibson grew up in Mill Creek Valley, a segregated working-class neighborhood of St. Louis that was razed in 1959 to build a highway, an act of racism disguised under urban renewal as "progress." The three rooms of her childhood home were heated by a wood-burning stove; her family had no hot water or furnace, but what Gibson lacked in material comforts she made up for in imagination. A moving memoir of family life at a time very different from the present, The Last Children of Mill Creek chronicles the everyday lived experiences of Gibson's large family -- her seven siblings, her crafty, college-educated mother, and her hard-working father -- and the friends, shop owners, church ladies, teachers, and others who made Mill Creek into a warm, tight-knit African-American community. In Gibson's words, "This memoir is about survival, as told from the viewpoint of a watchful young girl" -- a collection of decidedly universal stories that chronicle the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.
"It's a strange feeling, that old ache in the heart for a place left behind long ago, yet this is what Vivian Gibson provokes through her rich and luminous prose. Originally intended as a love letter to her mother, Frances Hamilton Ross, Gibson's memoir offers an intimate retelling of her family's story, but also beautifully and truthfully documents the life and death of one African-American community in mid-twentieth century St. Louis. Childhood is, for most of us, where our true home resides, and The Last Children of Mill Creek is a tribute to Gibson's, one told with deep generosity, humor and love." -- Angela Mitchell, author of Unnatural Habitats and Other Stories
Vivian Gibson was raised on Bernard Street in Mill Creek Valley, and has lived in New York City and Liberia. She started writing short stories about her childhood memories after retiring at age 66. Her work has been produced as part of 50in50: Writing Women into Existence, at the Billie Holliday Theater in Brooklyn, and published in The St. Louis Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2019). She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
Ryan Schuessler is a journalist from St. Louis, currently based in Chicago, whose work has appeared in Al Jazeera America, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, National Geographic News, and The St. Louis Beacon.
All you need to do to participate is log in to your personal Facebook account, go to Left Bank Books' Facebook Page, "Like" the page, and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until the stream begins).