Home to Africa

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Helene Cooper grew up like few in Africa could imagine — in a 22-room mansion on Sugar Beach in Liberia. Fancy cars. Servants. Shag rugs. The Jackson Five on the stereo.

Her African ancestors were freed American slaves who founded Liberia and went on to live like lords. Then it all came apart in a coup and civil war.

Helene Cooper’s family went from African elites to immigrants tossed back in America. Now she’s diplomatic correspondent for The New York Times and telling her extraordinary story.

This hour, On Point: The rise and fall and return to the house at Sugar Beach.

You can join the conversation. Does Helene’s story of exile, assimilation, and looking back speak to your own experience? Your family’s?Guest:

Helene Cooper, diplomatic correspondent for The New York Times. She spent twelve years as a reporter and foreign correspondent at The Wall Street Journal. Her new book is "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood."

Read an excerpt from "The House at Sugar Beach."

This program aired on September 16, 2008.


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