CLIFTON FORGE — Ken Conklin, the author of “Norvel,” will speak to the Brown Bag Book Club at the Clifton Forge School of the Arts on Thursday, Oct. 2t, at 11:30 am.
Born in Eagle Rock in 1924, Norvel Lee graduated from Academy Hill School in Fincastle, was trained to be a pilot at Tuskegee Institute in World War II, and received his bachelor’s degree from Howard University, and master’s degree in adult education from Federal City College in Washington, D.C. He was a talented boxer and won the national Amateur Athletic Union heavyweight title in 1950 and 1951, and went on to earn an Olympic gold medal in boxing at the 1952 XV Olympiad in Helsinki, Finland, and a silver medal at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City.
Norvel Lee devoted his life to serving others and improving education, especially for adult continuing education. He was also the president of the National Child Day Care Association and worked in the D.C. Office of Emergency Preparedness. He died in 1992.
Conklin, a native of Los Angeles, Calif., lives with his wife in Fincastle. This is his first book, and he has also received numerous poetry awards. “Norvel” is a finalist in the 2021 Indie Book Awards.
He says: “My main role is to answer any questions people have about the book and my writing process. There are numerous backstories that have become part of the journey of Norvel Lee’s life story.”
Dwayne Yancey, the executive editor of the Cardinal Press, calls Norvel “a must-read for anyone who wants to know that stories that weren’t told during the Jim Crow Era.”
The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution for a historical marker for Lee to be erected soon at Routes 220 and 622.
For questions regarding the Brown Bag Book Club meeting and the Clifton Forge School of the Arts at 518 Church Street, call (540) 862-7275 or Helene Baker, (860) 558-2170.