Panel Discusses “The Home Place”

On Wednesday, July 11, a panel from the community discussed this year’s One Book, One Firm selection, “The Home Place: A Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.” In the Home Place, author Drew Lanham shares his story of growing up on a farm in South Carolina, where he developed an intense love for the natural world.  Lanham, who is African American and a professor of ornithology at Clemson University, discusses his family’s ties to the land and the importance of land and a sense of place has for him.

Three panelists joined us to share their thoughts and reactions to the book:

  • Reuben Roberts, Jr., of the Trilogy Agricultural Group.  Reuben and his eight cousins farm land in Michigan and Mississippi where they raise cash crops and Red Devon cattle.
  • Mark Van Putten, the Chief Executive Officer of the Wege Foundation.  The Wege Foundation brought Dr. Lanham to Grand Rapids in April for the Wege Speakers Series. (You can see Dr. Lanham’s talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb_O46_ARSE)  The Wege Foundation has made equity and inclusion one of its missions.
  • Aaron Turner, Development Director at WGVU Public Media.  Before joining WGVU, Aaron was a district executive for the Boy Scouts of America, responsible, among other things, for the “Scoutreach” program which brings scouting to youth in the inner-city.

The panel was moderated by Rodney Martin, WN+J’s Diversity Partner.

Here are some photos from the event: