Married Michael Cox. Education: Hope College, B.A.; Cambridge University, M.Phil.; University of Illinois, Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Tutoring inner-city minority students for City Light's Partners.
Home—Chicago, IL. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Warner Books, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, scholar in residence, 2001-06, fellow, 2002-03.
Gilder Lehrman Foundation Fellowship; Pew Younger Scholars Fellowship; National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars Award.
A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.
Historian Anna-Lisa Cox was raised to care about the issues of racism and integration, influenced as she was by a mother who was active in thecivil rights movement in Chicago. While a student at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, Cox learned about the nearby town of Covert, which had a remarkable history of racial equality and tolerance. After earning a master's degree in social anthropology and a doctorate in American history, she made this town the subject of her first book, A Stronger Kinship: OneTown's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith. Covert was founded shortly after the American Civil Warby congregationalists and abolitionists who wanted to create a town of tolerance for all people. Cox traces the history of this remarkable village, which still thrives today and has an unusually balanced population of whites, blacks, and Hispanic people for a midwestern city of 2,600 people. Unfortunately, as Marta Salij pointed out in herDetroit Free Press review, a dearth of historical documentation meant that Cox resorts to considerable speculation when discussing the motives of the residents for creating an integrated community. "And though historian Anna-Lisa Cox tries … to get to those answers behind the simple facts of Covert, Mich.," wrote Salij, "there just isn't enough in the historical record to answer the tantalizing questions." Salij concluded: "She tries so hard to render the settlers' stories vividly that she overwrites and confuses her narrative. But she succeeds in her main purpose," which is to elicit an emotional response from readers and encourage them to understand more about the people of Covert and the town's history. Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush added: "This is a revealing look at a small town whose accomplishments have been virtually forgotten."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith, p. 19.
Detroit Free Press, February 5, 2006, Marta Salij, review of A Stronger Kinship.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2005, review of A Stronger Kinship, p. 1308.
Library Journal, February 15, 2006, Theresa McDevitt, review of A Stronger Kinship, p. 130.
Publishers Weekly, December 19, 2005, review of A Stronger Kinship, p. 57.
Hatchette Book Group USA Web site,http://www.twbookmark.com/ (July 22, 2006), biography of Anna-Lisa Cox.