March 1996

Vivian Glover

Journalist

Vivian Glover

Leaving Orangeburg, South Carolina with her parents in 1955, at the age of eight, Vivian Glover and her family removed themselves from the threats made against them because of her father’s involvement in the civil rights movement. Thirty-five years later, she returned, a successful television producer and an internationally acclaimed author. After relocating in the North, the Glover family lived in Philadelphia and later Camden, New Jersey. Glover’s parents encouraged their children to get a good education which led to Vivian Glover’s love of reading and her early determination to become a writer. Subsequently, Glover earned a degree in mass communication from Temple University in Philadelphia. As a student, Glover worked part-time with young people in a high crime area of Philadelphia. She directed recreational, cultural, and educational activities as alternatives to delinquency and involvement in street gangs. After graduating from college in 1970, she began work with the NBC television network in Washington, DC. Two years later, she was producer of the 7:00 evening news. Glover’s career choice has given her the opportunity to indulge in her aspiration to travel, fist realized in 1970 when, as a graduate student, she studied international communications at Universidad de Las Americas in Pueblo, Mexico. In 1973, with her future husband, Glove traveled to the newly independent nation of Botswana. At the request of the Botswana government, she organized and managed the country’s first radio news department broadcasting daily new reports in both the English and Setswana languages. During her four years in Botswana, Glover traveled extensively in Europe and Africa, where, in South Africa, she witnessed first hand the injustices and social restrictions of the apartheid regime and the inhumane nature of the system. In 1977, Glover moved to England where she lived for the next 15 years. While in England, she honed her literacy skills. In 1986, her first manuscript was accepted for publication by Methuen Press. The book, The First Fig Tree , received favorable reviews and was nominated by the publishers for the prestigious Booker Prize in the first novel category. In the United States, the novel was a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection. The First Fig Tree reveals that Glover had not forgotten her origins. Set in Orangeburg during the Second World War, the book is an account of the relationship between an old woman born into slavery and her great-granddaughter. “While the prose incorporates my observations as a writer, I used scenery and setting from memories of my childhood in Orangeburg,” explained Glover. Perhaps it was no surprise that Glover should eventually come back to her childhood home. In 1992, she returned to Orangeburg, where she has taught at both South Carolina State University and Claflin College, thus continuing her involvement with young people. As Claflin, she was responsible for researching and writing a pictorial history to commemorate the college’s 125th anniversary. Glover’s return to South Carolina also rekindled her work with NBC. She has produced stories on Shannon Faulkner and the Citadel, the closing of the Charleston Naval Base, and the US Troops in Somalia. She views the Susan Smith trial as her most challenging story. She plans to continue to use her skills as a producer, author, journalist and teacher at home. “I feel rooted here,” she says of Orangeburg. “My parents and other family members are here. There is something in the air that makes me feel content– at home.”