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Author discusses her experience with inequality


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Award-winning author Eva Rutland led an intimate, multi-generational discussion at Sacramento State about her life as told in her book When We Were Colored: A Mother’s Story. The event was held at noon Thursday, Feb. 16, in the University Union Redwood Room.

In her 2007 book, Rutland, the granddaughter of a former slave, gives a candid account of her experiences growing up and raising a family in Georgia during the ’50s and ’60s – when segregation was the norm and African Americans were second-class citizens.

“I want Sac State students and everyone else to know that people are people, we are all alike, and to please be kind to each other,” the now-95-year-old Rutland, author of more than 20 novels and recipient of the 2000 Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement, said in preparation for the conversation.

The author was joined by her daughter, Sacramento Bee associate editor Ginger Rutland, and granddaughter, Eva Fields, for the interactive forum.

“What I am most excited about is that Rutland’s life account will be presented across three generations,” said Margarita Berta-Avila, event organizer and professor in the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department, said before the event. “Mrs. Rutland’s daughter and granddaughter will join her on stage to share the story through different lenses and experiences lived.”

The dialogue is the latest in a line of events commissioned by the President’s Committee to Build Campus Unity, an effort encouraging active discourse among Sac State students, faculty and staff to bring the campus community closer together.

Previous events have featured award-winning journalist Michele Norris, author of the University’s One Book selection, The Grace of Silence, and host of NPR’s “All Things Considered”; and Helen Zia, former executive editor of Ms. Magazine, whose writings have focused public attention on important matters of law and civil rights.

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