Author Marian Olivia Heath Griffin presents a historical narrative of the stories and glories of Black people’s lives in her stories.
With the desire to let her children and grandchildren know their historical background, Griffin releases “Cultural Gumbo Our Roots Our Stories,” a documented autobiographical history of her family members. Presented as a historical narrative, the book is about four families, dating back to the era before slaves were brought out of Africa. Griffin’s extended family is a blend and mixture of African, European especially English, French, Irish, Asian, Native American, and South and North American ancestry.
Contemporary records and archival documents were sought in an effort to reach greater heights of authenticity, enhance ancestral reality and relate the facts to younger generations. Griffin shares that personal experiences led her to realize that even though there were differences in the races of people, there were many similarities as well. “I want the world to accept us as strong resilient human beings who survived severe hardships, physical and mental anguish, conflicts, wars in our homeland and yet we survived,” she said. An excerpt from the book reads: I have learned from historical and traditional accounts that African slaves did not come to the United States and other countries empty-headed or empty-handed. We came with skills, intellectual and educational development and have made contributions for the betterment of mankind.
However, she has lived in Baton Rouge with her husband, Bertrand Griffin, for more than 55 years. She is a licensed professional counselor and has served as a counselor and administrator in student personal at Southern University in Baton Rouge for 36 years, the last seven years as director of international student services. She graduated from Delaware State University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology, attended Atlanta University School of social work, and attended the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary earning a master’s degree in psychological counseling. She received a master’s degree in mass communication and educational supervision, and further studies at Louisiana State University and North Western University in Evanston, Illinois.