LaVerne McLeod, a retired middle school teacher, has many talents, wears many hats and spends a lot of her time creating and exploring with new ideas. Corn Hollow is her first book creation. She writes for people of all races and ages.
Her expertise for writing Corn Hollow is drawn from her childhood experiences. As an African American, being reared on a farm in the south during the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in America, LaVerne recollects many incidents of that time.
Having participated in the preparation and harvesting of cotton crops, canning, large truck patches and meat processing, she conveys smells, sensations, and flavor in her novel. Her writing passion and voice, although embellished in Corn Hollow, gives rise through her observations.
Currently, McLeod has just finished writing a non-fiction and has other writing adventures in mind. (See Book/Writing section of this website).
LaVerne McLeod paints in oils and additionally is a skilled textile hand weaver/designer. Moreover, she has spent a lot of time as a community leader and volunteer. (See list below).
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master of Arts in Counselor Education. The author lives with her husband on the coast of California where she enjoys natural surroundings that nurtures her creativity. Beyond all her joys and activities, LaVerne loves spending time with her grandchildren. They enhance her creative spirit and vibrancy that carries over to her writing projects.
Local author releases first novel based on childhood. Carmel Sandpiper, March 6, 2017.
In the 1960s, a young African-American girl witnessed the effects of the Civil Rights Movement in her small Arkansas town. Now, more than 40 years later, Big Sur resident LaVerne McLeod, 67, has released “Corn Hollow,” a novel based on her experiences.
McLeod started writing the book 14 years ago after realizing that short stories she had written could form a full-length novel. The result is a picaresque novel battling topics like racism, sexism and more.
“They started as little stories, little African-American tales that I wanted to capture, then I decided, ‘Well maybe it could be a book,’” the former CMS teacher says.
The protagonist, Tamara, is a young girl based on McLeod herself. After the stories and characters were created, McLeod needed to tie them all together with the setting; she decided to center the book in the fictional town of Corn Hollow, Tennessee, a town eerily similar to her own hometown.
A local educator uses her life in the Jim Crow-era South as a backdrop for her new book. Monterey County Weekly, August 17, 2017.
LaVerne McLeod, a 67-year-old retired Carmel Middle School teacher, has lived with her husband in Big Sur since 1979. That’s a long way from where she started, and she’s written a book that delineates that distance.
She comes from a black farming family in Jim Crow-era Arkansas, but says they weren’t “impoverished.” Her mother’s white grandfather deeded 20 of his thousands of acres to them, and they sharecropped the land.
It meant continual labor. They relied on white farm equipment operators to cultivate the family’s crops, and in turn picked cotton on their land. In the winter, McLeod’s father logged timber, and sold his own “recipe” of moonshine.
“It was a survival thing,” McLeod says.
The civil rights movement was growing when a beloved teacher at her one-room elementary school, who secretly organized with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was beaten until he “looked like a monster.”
Her Story: Monterey Museum of Art is declaring 2018 for women. Monterey County Weekly, January 18, 2018.
The museum has assembled a year that features, almost exclusively, work by women. Ironically, the big Coburn Gallery in which they made the announcement is host to a solo show by a man, Hector Dionocio Mendoza. But the museum shuts down Feb. 5 to March 14 for renovations, and when it reopens it will be nearly all women the rest of the year – collections shows, special exhibitions, lectures, studio tours.
“I’ve seen a [solo] or group show focused on women [at a museum],” Chase says. “But not the entire year.”
Expect to see stuff from Ruth Bernhard, E. Charlton Fortune, Inez Storer, Malin Lager, Dorothea Lange and more, and special exhibits from the likes of Beth Van Hoesen, Joan Savo and Robin Robinson. The Winter Lecture Series features painter Elizabeth Murray, Monterey Symphony executive director Nicola Samra and author/educator LaVerne McLeod.
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE & MEMBERSHIPS
- A past President of the Captain Cooper School Parent Club for 5 years and coordinator of their annual Carnival fundraisers
- Volunteer golf marshal for several annual Monterey Peninsula First Tee Opens for kids, AT&T golf tournament volunteer 2000 & golf marshal for the 2010 U.S. Open
- Coordinator of youth and adult runners for Big Sur Marathon’s 5-K
- Writer of semester and quarter articles for the Big Sur Roundup paper on Big Sur student Honor Roll achievers and their future plans for 11 years
- Initiator of the original writing of a Fuel Reduction Grant via Fire Safe Council with the help of her neighborhood water company members 2008
- Writer of golf articles for Monterey County Magazine 2010 & 2011
- Team member of Big Sur CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and was a lead recruiter
- Clothes designer with annual Big Sur Fashion Show-6 years & Steering Committee Secretary for Fashion Show-1 year
- Coordinator for Big Sur’s first Earth Day Fair & last 4 years
- Wedding planner for 3 weddings
- Member of Central Coast’s Whole Hearted Community Chorus, a local a cappella singing group for 10 years and also a member of the Monterey Peninsula Gospel Community Choir-recently joined summer of 2017
- Panetta Institute volunteer reader for Captain Cooper School. Awarded by Panetta Institute’s, Monterey County Reads Program, 2014 Golden Threads Award for 5 years of Volunteer Reading with Children, now working on her 8th volunteer year
- Coordinator of a Croning Ceremony for an elder community member
- Co-Coordinator & Steering Committee member of (B-SAGE) Big Sur Advocate for a Green Environment. Received certificate of recognition as a B-SAGE volunteer at the 2016 annual CSMC (Community for Sustainable Monterey County) luncheon. 2017 Board Member of CSMC.
- Big Sur Health Center volunteer for their annual Health Fair- 2 years
- Created a Senior Rides network for an elder community member when driving a car was no longer an option
- Member NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of People of Color) since 2013
- Member California Retired Teacher’s Association since 2006
- Author of Corn Hollow, A Journey of Sorrow and Triumph, an African American historical fiction taking place in the South from the early 1950’s-early 1970’s. During the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in America, the protagonist, Tamara, searches for answers to questions adults refused to answer. Dramatic Author Presentations and Book Signings are available upon request. Use the Contact page of this website or (831) 595-9692 for requests or inquiries. Read more on the Events and Commentary pages of this website also.
- Designer and facilitator of a workshop series called, BRIDGE BUILDING TO EQUITY- “Exploring Tools to HELP Dissolve Racism”. Various levels are available to choose from- dissolving racism, workplace bias, religious and other discriminations. The details of these levels and specific discriminations are available upon request for anyone requesting a workshop. Use the Contact page of this website or (831) 595-9692 for requests or inquiries. Read more on the Events and Commentary pages of this website also.