“I want [readers] to consider community and to understand the importance of connecting to one's community”says author
Tracy Occomy Crowder
“I want [readers] to consider community
and to understand the importance of connecting to one's community”
–Tracy Occomy Crowder
Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Escape to Witch Mountain, Mannix, Barnaby Jones, Police Woman and the Man Who Knew Too Much. These are some of the influences of Tracy Occomy Crowder’s love of mystery. As an avid reader growing up on the Southside of Chicago in the 1970’s and sitting up under her father watching police procedurals and spy movies, mystery has been her passion from an early age. “In fifth grade, Patricia Binosi heard me talking about mysteries so much she enlisted me in my first case – her cousin, Spencer’s bike had been stolen. Although the only discovery I made when I went to the site of the theft was that her cousin was really cute, the invitation gave me the confidence to dive deeper into mysteries.”
During the late1990’s, Occomy Crowder took a genealogy class and was instantly hooked. She learned more about the technique from a cousin who was a certified genealogist. She started to write stories as a way to make sense of the family history she was discovering, to dive deeper into understanding what her ancestors did and who they were. This led to following in her Grandmother’s, Marita Bonner’s, footsteps as she wrote essays, short stories and plays during the Harlem Renaissance and was published in The Crisis publication of the NAACP and Opportunity publication of the Urban League.
But, indulging in mysteries was really just a hobby for Occomy Crowder. A student of social and political philosophy and Africana Studies, she has worked as an activist for the past thirty years to make social change in Chicago and across Illinois. Addressing issues such as housing and education, she supported a group of mothers and grandmothers to get recess back to schools in Chicago. This is one of the many issues she has worked on over the years.
We'll soon be exploring even more treasures about Chicago's South Side community of Washington Park and sharing those treasures with you.