Life story

Carol Swain inspires with life story

The Madison County Republican Women’s Group kicked off the first of its new lecture series in October by welcoming Carol Swain, former professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University and television analyst.

“I was born and raised in Southwest Virginia, and I was one of 12 children,” Swain said. “We were born and raised in rural poverty, and my father did not finish primary school and my mother did high school.”

Swain says the poverty of his childhood shaped his early adulthood.

“The poverty I grew up in was such that all of my siblings and I dropped out of school after I finished eighth grade,” she said. “I got married at 16 and at 21 I had three young children.”

While the success rates of young, poorly educated mothers are not in her favor, Swain has managed to turn the tide.

“Part of my story is that people encouraged me,” she said. “I went through a period of my life when I was suicidal: I took bottles of pills, I called someone and I was rescued. But the doctor told me that I was smart, that I was attractive, and that I could do more with my life.

Dr Carol Swain on Thursday October 28, 2021 at the Jackson Country Club.

“I had never heard this before.”

That compliment – and a divorce from her husband – got Swain thinking. And then came another boost.

“(While he was working) an African nurse told me I had to go to college because there were a lot of people in college not as smart as me,” Swain said, smiling at the memory. “And I didn’t know you could go to college with a high school diploma, so I started at community college as a work-study student.”

Swain worked full time to pay for her education, which she obtained in the form of a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

“I thought I would be a store manager,” she said. “When I applied for the job, I was told I needed a four-year degree.”

So she went back to college to get her bachelor’s degree and “made the conscious decision to graduate with honors, and graduated with magnum cum laude and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.”

Swain was not convinced, however. Moving on from education, Swain tried to spread his wings, but found that job vacancies weren’t quite coming up.

“I applied for jobs, and the jobs didn’t go through, but the graduates’ offers were,” she said. “And so I embarked on a career to get a doctorate. “

Swain received his doctorate and joined Princeton and later Vanderbilt faculty “with the certainty that I would get an early tenure.” And I did.”

Dr Carol Swain holds a book she wrote with Christopher Schorr

Dr. Carol Swain holds a book she wrote with Christopher Schorr “Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House” on Thursday October 28 in Jackson, Tenn.

Now, years later and has retired from her teaching post at Vanderbilt and striving to shed light on political issues close to her heart, Swain says all the hardships of her past have brought her here. where she is now.

“The person I am today is very different from the person I was twenty years ago,” she said. “And the most important thing I learned is that life is a journey. And I got to see how everything I did as a youngster matches what I do now.

“But I look back on my life – and there are people who might take pity on me, going through all kinds of things,” she said. “But I have always been an original thinker. I never have my place anywhere. Even as a child, I had no place at home.

When asked what she would say to young people starting their educational journey, Swain expressed high hopes.

“I hope the young people, and the rest, don’t have to wait until they are as old as I am to get to the point where you have real freedom,” she said. “And I recognize how so short life is. We don’t know if we are guaranteed tomorrow. It is important for us to be faithful to whatever we are called to do.

Got a story to tell? Contact Angele Latham by email at [email protected], by phone at 731-343-5212, or follow her on Twitter at @angele_latham.

This article originally appeared on Jackson Sun: Carol Swain Inspires With Her Life Story


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