Jo Ivester

Jo Ivester

At the height of the civil rights movement, Jo Ivester’s father moved their family to the poorest county in the nation to start a medical clinic. She was 10 years old and the only white student in her class. In her memoir, The Outskirts of Hope: A Memoir of the 1960s Deep South (She Writes Press, April 2015), Ivester tells a very personal story of her family’s journey to the segregated American South. One of only two white families, and the only Jews, in all-black Mound Bayou, Miss., in 1967, Ivester and her family had a unique, front-row view of America during one of its most racially tumultuous eras. The Outskirts of Hope chronicles the experience and how her mother, who became a teacher, inspired the entire Mound Bayou community. The Outskirts of Hope was called “a sensitive and powerful memoir of racial change in the South in the 1960s” by Booklist, and has continued to receive national attention since its release. Ivester has spoken on NPR’s “The Author’s Corner” and “Texas Standard,” and has been featured in the Austin Chronicle, Miami Herald, and many other media outlets. After her time in Mound Bayou, Ivester went on to finish high school in Florida and attend Reed College, where she studied physics. She then received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Later she graduated from Stanford University with an MBA in preparation for her career in transportation and manufacturing. Ivester has worked for large organizations including the San Francisco Municipal Railway, where she served as a deputy general manager, and Applied Materials, where she ran a factory. She began to teach following the birth of her fourth child, first as a substitute math teacher and then as an adjunct professor at St. Edward's University. Ivester and her husband help teach a course each January at MIT and travel extensively, splitting their time between Texas and Colorado. In her free time, she likes to hike and ski in the mountains and walk on the beach.
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