Jan Jarboe Russell, acclaimed author of “The Train to Crystal City,” will speak at Lone Star College-North Harris on Monday, Oct. 17 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the college’s Academic Building, Room ACAD-126. “The Train to Crystal City” was named a 2016 Gulf Coast Reads selection and received the Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction, given by the Texas Institute of Letters.
“The Train to Crystal City” reveals a secret, 290-acre internment camp in Crystal City, Texas that housed Japanese, German and Italian immigrants and their American-born children during World War II, and was a part of President Roosevelt’s prisoner exchange program, known as the “quiet passage.” In her book, Russell lets her audience in to the dramatic lives of two American-born teenage girls as she documents the constant struggles and how their lives changed because of the camp.
“We are very excited to host Jan Jarboe Russell at LSC-North Harris,” said Christine Ramsey, director of the LSC-North Harris library. “This is a great opportunity for our students, staff and the community to learn about the little-known historical events that haven take place in this state, and the life-long impacts that they have made.”
Russell, a Beaumont, Texas native graduated from the University of Texas in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She began the first part of her journey as a writer working as a political reporter for The San Antonio Light.
In 1976, she moved northeast, where she joined the Hearst Bureau, primarily focusing on Texas politics. Russell later returned to Texas to work as a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.
After venturing into the world of writing, Russell decided to further her education. In 1984, she was named a Neiman Fellow at Harvard, and notably one of only twelve American journalists to study there during that academic year. During her time at Harvard, Russell studied American history, and due to the tremendous impact it had on her, she made a decision to shift her career goals to long-form journalism so she could focus on topics that truly interested her such as politics, religion and social issues.
Texas has always been a constant in Russell’s life and she later returned in 1985 to plant roots at Texas Monthly magazine as a senior editor. Keeping her feet firmly planted, Russell currently serves as a contributing editor for Texas Monthly.
Russell has earned many accolades throughout the years, including winning best magazine story of the year by the Headliner’s Club on two separate occasions. Russell’s articles have also been featured in Slate and The New York Times. Adding to her writing repertoire, Russell was recognized for her book, Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson and for compiling and editing for They Lived to Tell the Tale.
Gulf Coast Reads is sponsoring the event as part of its Gulf Coast Reads: On the Same Page regional reading initiative. The annual initiative focuses on promoting the simultaneous reading or listening to a selected title by those living along the upper Texas Gulf Coast.
Each year, a representative committee of librarians selects a title that has a broad appeal to adults in our communities, is recognized in authoritative and professional journals, is available in multiple formats from print to downloadable content, and preferably, is available in multiple languages. The title should also lend itself to related programming about the themes or subjects within.
The goal is to encourage local communities to read the same title during the month of October to encourage readers to come together in discussions about it with neighbors, co-workers, friends and families, as well as in classrooms and in libraries throughout the region.
There is no charge for this event. For more information, please call the LSC-North Harris library at 281.618-1185.
Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 East, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit LoneStar.edu/NorthHarris.
Known for its leadership, innovation and steadfast commitment to student success, Lone Star College provides high-quality academic transfer and workforce education / career training programs to more than 85,000 credit students each semester, and a total enrollment of nearly 98,000 students. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to promote student success and economic prosperity. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, which consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.