The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature

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"In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored.”  

From these fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emerges a big-hearted memoir by ornithologist and professor of ecology J. Drew Lanham. Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina is a place "easy to pass by on the way somewhere else", and has been home to generations of Lanhams. Readers meet this extraordinary family, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be "the rare bird, the oddity.” By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, a deeply moving memoir and exploration of the contradictions of Black identity in the rural South and in America today.

J. Drew Lanham is a native of Edgefield, South Carolina, and an Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University. Lanham is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist.