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About The Author

I meet a lot of people in the World Wide Web.

Recently I chatted with Ethel on Facebook. It turned out that she is a smart and gentle person.

We have mutualities. She has been to Tübingen, Germany – the town I studied for some time. She likes literature. She even published books – which I admire most.

Ethel seems to be a fan of the democratic party in America. I have nothing against the Republicans but I do not like their blocking of necessary reforms which Obama stands for.

Hans-Jürgen John /


Ethel Morgan Smith is an Associate Professor of English at West Virginia University. She lives in Morgantown with her dog Lucy. Her son Marcus lives and works in the NYC area.

Photo of Ethel Morgan Smith

Ethel Morgan Smith first received recognition when her essay “Come and Be Black for Me,” was published in more than 100 media outlets throughout the country in 1997. The essay is still being published every year during Black History Month, but now scholars are writing about the essay.

Ethel Morgan Smith grew up in Louisville, Alabama. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing/​English from Hollins University. While she was a graduate student she learned of a small African-American community in the backdoor of the College. Most of the members of the small community are direct descendants of the enslaved individuals who first arrived at Hollins with the founder of the College and early students. As a result of this finding, she published From Whence Cometh My Help: The African American Community at Hollins College. This compelling work has been called, “a wonderful and astounding combination of historical and personal research.”

Reflections of the Other: Being Black in Germany is Smith’s second book and was born when a German student asked, “Could she be 100% sure that there were no happy slaves?” Although this work is about her personal experience, it is designed and rooted in African American literature, culture, and history. By involving the reader in her day-to-day life, this book draws a portrait of an African American woman in a country that professes not to be racist, even though racism kept finding her.

Joan Connor wrote about Reflections of the Other: Being Black in Germany: “… the mediating narrator disappeared and I felt as if this author were speaking straight to me, to my heart. As she wrote about the struggle to acculturate to a small university town dominated by academic male hierarchy and a very married community, she struggles with loneliness and the divided self-created by ‘othering’, a struggle amplified by single motherhood and race. The narrator’s experiences in Germany both undercut and reinforce this feeling of alienation. This is a courageous and candid memoir, and, yes, it actually did move me to tears. And, yes, it also made me laugh.”

Ethel Morgan Smith has published in The New York Times; African American ReviewCallaloo, and other international journals.

She has received the following awards: Fulbright Fellowship- Germany; a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship- Bellagio, Italy; a visiting artist- the American Academy in Rome, a fellowship from The Women’s Studies Research Center- Brandeis University, and a Dupont Fellowship- Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

In addition, the following work is ready for publication: The House of Flowers (novel) has been a finalist for both the William Faulkner & William Wisdom Creative Writing Contest, and the James Jones Creative Writing Contest. Three chapters from the novel have already been published.

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