Sand Hills Writer Series returns with authors Patrick Phillips, Drew Lanham

The Sand Hills Writer Series returns on Monday, Oct. 23 with guest speakers Patrick Phillips and Drew Lanham.

Patrick Phillips, poet, translator and educator, is the author of three books of poetry. His latest work, Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America, is a nonfiction account about the systemic racial discrimination in Forsyth County, Georgia during the 20th century.

Following the assault of a young white woman in 1912, three young African American men were hanged in Forsyth County—two by the state, and one by county residents. Afterward, white residents pursued a relentless campaign of racial discrimination, driving African American residents from the county through force and intimidation. As late as 1997, the African American population of Forsyth County—a county of 75,739 people—was a mere 39. Plying gorgeous but nonetheless haunting prose, Phillips details at length the sad past of a county once known as the “Whitest” in America.

Drew Lanham, alumni distinguished professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.

An avid nature lover, Lanham holds a particular love for the South, where he still lives. Having traced his family lineage back to a slave bought in Edgefield, South Carolina, Lanham is particularly fascinated with the idea of loving the land loved ones have worked.

“Thousands of people can’t afford a square foot of the soil that their ancestors paid for with their lives,” Lanham writes.

The Sand Hills Writers Series will take place from 1-3 p.m. in the JSAC Coffee House. Refreshments will be served after the event. Admission is free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by the Department of English and Foreign Languages, Department of Biological Sciences, Student Activities Committee and the Georgia Humanities Council.

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Nick Garrett

Nick Garrett is a communications coordinator in the Division of Communications & Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him at 706-446-4802 or

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Written by Nick Garrett

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