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Teacher publishes novel based on black poet

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Richard Emmel’s recently published first novel is “Louisa,” which the Joe T. Robinson Middle School teacher based on the life of colonial African-American poet Phillis Wheatley. The author will participate in a special Black History Month program at Robinson Middle School on Friday, Feb. 9, beginning at 1:45 p.m. The program will focus on the historical accomplishments of notable black Americans, including Wheatley.

Emmel’s new book takes the reader back to colonial times, where a Fulani African princess, Farih Morawa, is captured and enslaved, and later renamed by her owners as Louisa. She subsequently is educated and gains her freedom, and amazes the world with her intellect and poetry writing skills.

In a press release about the book, Kathy Hickey, a literacy specialist with the Arkansas Department of Education, said of “Louisa,”: “The narrative swept me along as I vicariously lived the amazing story of this black woman who rose, despite all odds, to become a famous poet of her day.”

The book has been published by Parson Place Press of Mobile, Ala., and can be ordered online at www.parsonplacepress.com/store, as well as through Barnes and Noble’s online store (www.barnesandnoble.com).

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