New: When We Were Young in Africa


Growing up as a missionary child in West Africa, Carol Claxon Polsgrove was raised to be American, but Yoruba voices filled her days and talking drums her nights. Lifting the veil of stereotypes about missionary life, When We Were Young in Africa offers an intimate account of coming of age at a crossroads of cultures.

“Part of the legacy of Carol Polsgrove’s childhood is a sense of being between worlds, clearly not African but not fitting in the United States either. Nor is she at home in the evangelizing Christianity of her parents. But in this memoir, brimming with the sounds and smells, the voices and spirits of over sixty years ago, Polsgrove comes to see the unity that links the two continents of her life and, in doing so, to embrace her becoming as it shapes her ongoing.

When We Were Young in Africa is not just recollection but examination, always thoughtful, often funny, wrestling with issues of racism and social justice, the larger history of which her childhood is a part. Don t miss it!”–George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015-2016), author of Many-Storied House and co-author of Voices from the March on Washington

Publication date: December 11, 2015

From IU Newsroom:

In new memoir, IU professor reflects on growing up in Africa, as a person between two worlds

 From the age of 3, Carol Claxon Polsgrove has been a person between two worlds.

As a child, she accompanied her parents from Kentucky to West Africa, where they served as Baptist missionaries. After a dozen years of growing up mostly in Nigeria, she returned to the United States, where many people thought that experience to be strange. READ MORE HERE….


From Literary Labors:

November 13, 2015

By Mary Popham 

In her youth, during the time of establishing identity,Carol Claxon Polsgrove always felt apart, the white girl among Africans, or in the U. S. pointed out as the girl who had once lived in Africa. In her book, When We Were Young in Africa 1948-1960, she delineates her parents’ story, too. “In today’s world, they might have joined the Peace Corps.” It was their “calling” to a life of service that gave her and her little brother Billy the fascinating and unusual experiences that delight us by her recollection. READ MORE HERE….


Write to Carol Polsgrove