UA to Hold Reception, Book Signing

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Women’s Studies department, Asian Studies department and Capstone International Programs and Services at The University of Alabama will sponsor a reception and book signing for Eleanor McCallie Cooper on April 4 from 4-5 p.m. in 109 B.B. Comer Hall.

Cooper, UA alumna and author, has recently published “Grace in China: An American Woman Beyond the Great Wall, 1934-1974,” with co-author William Liu. The publication is a memoir of Cooper’s aunt, Grace Divine, and Cooper will read and discuss the writing during the reception.

Divine was in New York on a music scholarship in the late 1920s when she met Liu Fu-chi, a young Chinese man who had come to America to study hydraulic engineering. The two fell in love, married and had a child. During the Depression, Fu-chi lost his job and returned to China, sending for his wife and baby after he was settled.

She lived in Asia for 40 years, experiencing flood and famine during the 1930s, brutal Japanese occupation, the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists in the 1940s, and the ascendancy of Mao followed by the Cultural Revolution in the 1950s and 1960s.

Her husband died in 1955, leaving Divine to raise their three children. She began teaching English in the university and was noted as an outstanding worker of the people. At the height of the backlash against education and Western ideas, the Red Guards came for her and stripped her of all she had achieved.

In 1974, Divine finally returned to the United States, where she died in 1979.

Throughout her life in China, she wrote detailed letters to family members, occasional articles for English-language publications, and a journal. Toward the end of her life, she began writing her memoirs with the assistance of a cousin and her son. After her death, Cooper and Liu assembled this book from her letters, articles and journals.

For more information, call 205/348-5940 or 205/348-5256.


Carin Charles or Linda Hill, Office of Media Relations, 205/348-8325