Veda Pendleton, Ph.D, formerly of Pine Bluff, recently released a new book titled, “Prepped: Coming of Age in Black and White America, A Memoir.”


Pine Bluff residents will host a book talk and signing via Zoom at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 26. Participants must have a Zoom link and password to join the meeting. All are welcome. Participants may email Veda.pendleton@yahoo.com for the link, according to a news release.


Pendleton of Louisville, Kentucky, shares the story of her life at Pine Bluff, and her subsequent journey to an elite all-girls’ school in Simsbury, Connecticut. Set in the 1970’s, Prepped is her fifth book and her first memoir, according to the release.


“As a teen African-American girl living in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement and the integration of public schools, Pendleton tells what life was like to grow and to learn in a single-gender, mostly white environment far from home,” according to the release.


“The Foreword, written by Joan Countryman, the founding head of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, says, ‘It’s a story of learning to live in a world where the familiar changes places with the strange.’”


Pendleton said it’s the book that she wanted to read as a teenager. She wanted to read about other black teen girls who were like her, she said.


“Like newly integrated schools all over the country in the 1970’s, black and white teachers and students were put together without any consideration of how to work together or how to understand each other across racial, socio-economic, and cultural differences,” according to an excerpt from the book. “We just had to figure it out the best that we could even if it meant someone would be placed at a disadvantage. I was that someone that day.”


The book is now a part of the curriculum in two English classes.


Prepped was launched at The Ethel Walker School at Simsbury, Connecticut, in October 2019, and was well received by the community at school, also known as the Walker’s, according to the release.


“While at Walker’s, I learned how to learn and how to think about how students are taught at different schools,” according to an excerpt from the book. “I learned that students at prep schools receive an uncommon education, even with the inequities and biases. The student workload is pitched at a different level, and the underlying assumption about each student is that you want to be there, and you want to learn at high levels. I found that many of the learning experiences I had in the 1970’s at Walker’s are still unavailable to students in many public schools.”


With a long work history in higher education, Pendleton began her teaching in public schools in Little Rock and became a teacher educator while pursuing her doctorate at The University of Georgia.


“She is an avid reader, a prolific writer, and in addition to her books, she has contributed articles to academic journals, local and regional magazines, newsletters, newspapers and blogs. Perhaps her most important work was rearing her five children to adulthood. She hosts her seven grandchildren for Cousins Camp each summer,” according to the release.


Prepped addresses diversity, equity and inclusion. In Prepped, Pendleton argues for the necessity of a sense of belonging for black teen girls in educational settings. Details: vedapendleton.com.