Monday, October 1, 2012

A Slave on His Father's Land

Salgado Maranhao's childhood as an illiterate field-hand on his white father's plantation is the subject of Elizabeth Floyd Mair's interview with translator Alexis Levitin in the Times Union.

Maranhao and Levitin will visit the Writers Institute tomorrow, Oct. 2 at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room of the Science Library.

Q: How did he learn to read [at the age of 16]?

A: Before he entered a regular school, his mom moved the whole family to the city of Teresina, the capital of the state of Piaui, so that he could get an education. His whole family was extremely intelligent, he says, although all of them were illiterate. They were all kind of lost, he says, since there was no schooling and no way to develop your intelligence or make use of it. His mother wanted to prove that he was as good as his father's side of the family.
     He spent three months with a family that kind of gave him a special intensive tutorial to prepare him for school. And then he also discovered a library. The discovery of the library was key, because from then on he read all the time.