LaVerne Harrell Clark was born in Smithville, a small lower-Colorado River town in Central Texas. She has conducted folklore research and traveled extensively in Spain, Mexico and in the Southwestern United States among Native Americans.
LaVerne is the author of six books of fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection, The Deadly Swarm, received the Julian Ocean Literature Prize in 1986. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Folklore Award from the University of Chicago for her book They Sang for Horses.
“This novel led me back to my native landscape and even to work that I had done as an undergraduate at Texas Woman’s University. For a class, I had collected the cures and medicines from older black people and friends that my mother had grown up around, most of whom either worked for or were neighbors to her and my grandparents.
My main informant was, in fact, the ancient midwife who brought both mother and me into this world, and who died at 110 years of age, still remembering having been freed from slavery as a small child. She furnished me with many of the old remedies and cures that she’d learned, including some for the curing of victims of hoodoo and others she said were safeguards she practiced against it. I became fascinated with the subject and afterwards listened closely to any accounts involving hoodoo that came my way from other informants. This information and much more found its way into Keepers of the Earth.”
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