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Terry Baker Mulligan is author of the novel, Afterlife in Harlem and the memoir, Sugar Hill: Where the Sun Rose Over Harlem, winner of a 2012 IPPY Award and 2013 Benjamin Franklin Awards. Mulligan attended both public and private schools while growing up in New York, graduating high school from the famous “progressive powerhouse,” the New Lincoln School in Harlem. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in English from Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., and she completed her formal education at the City College of New York, earning a Master of Arts degree in English.
Novel, Afterlife in Harlem
The idea for Terry Baker Mulligan’s novel, “Afterlife in Harlem,” was conceived in 2001 while standing in front of Alexander Hamilton’s Harlem home; 2001 was also the year President Bill Clinton opened his Harlem office. Beginning with their births to single mothers of modest means, Mulligan began to realize how much Clinton and Hamilton had in common. They achieved political prominence and fame at an early age and were visionaries in their efforts to improve American race relations. Both men were also hampered by similar and damaging sexual scandals.
Memoir, Sugar Hill: Where The Sun Rose Over Harlem
Making her home in St. Louis, Mo., after her marriage to Michael Mulligan, Esq., in the early 1970s, Mulligan began writing the first of several versions of what would become her award-winning 2012 memoir “Sugar Hill, Where the Sun Rose Over Harlem.” In it, she celebrates the life of the neighborhood as she knew it in the 1950s, a place where African-American achievers and celebrities made their homes alongside middle-class families and lower-income blacks and whites. Mulligan writes about her frequent visits to the Apollo Theater in its heyday as a showcase for the great stars of Jazz, Soul, Gospel, R&B and early Rock ‘n Roll. She also details extensively the shaping influence that her maternal grandmother, her mother and her mother’s sisters had on her growing up.
Mulligan’s mother Olivia Hodges Jackson worked as a secretary in the offices of the Harlem-based New York Amsterdam News, and later for the administration at the City College of New York. Her father, the Philadelphia-born Roy Baker, was a Cotton Club dancer and an entertainer with Cab Calloway’s troupe during the Harlem Renaissance era. Although never married to her mother, Baker took some responsibility for Terry’s upbringing, with colorful weekend adventures along Seventh Avenue defining his relationship with young Terry.
Adult Life in St. Louis
After settling in St. Louis, Mulligan studied fiction and non-fiction writing at Washington University’s Summer Writers Institute and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. In 2000, her article “Sugar Hill” appeared in Labor History. In 1998, Terry won first-person runner-up, non-fiction, at the Heartland Writers Conference. She is a member of the Harlem Arts Alliance, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and a former secretary of the St. Louis Publishers Association. She recently left her teaching duties at St. Louis Community College to devote her full time to writing. She also volunteers with several non-profit organizations that seek to improve education for youth in underserved schools. Mulligan is the mother of two grown sons.
Terry Baker Mulligan has appeared at major cultural venues in St. Louis and New York City to speak and read from her 2012 memoir. In May 2012, “Sugar Hill, Where the Sun Rose Over Harlem” was awarded the Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Adult Multicultural Nonfiction. The cover of "Sugar Hill" was included on the front of Publishers Weekly in March 2012, featuring titles from the Independent Book Publishers Association.
In 2013, "Sugar Hill" won two Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal Awards for Autobiography/Memoir and Multicultural Writing. Mulligan's second book, "Afterlife In Harlem," will be published in Fall 2014. It's a fictional historical account about a chance meeting between President Bill Clinton and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in modern-day Harlem.
- Mulligan, Terry Baker. "Beyond the Storm". Wagner Alumni Magazine. Wagner College. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- Uncredited (6 May 2012). "Penned in St. Louis: Terry Baker Mulligan". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Bergsma, Jillian (May 2012). "2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Results". Independent Publisher. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Smaldone, Valerie. "Interview with Terry Baker Mulligan". Valerie's New York. WOR710.com.
- Peterson, Deb (8 February 2012). "Local author who grew up in Harlem publishes memoir". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Mulligan, Terry Baker. "A Book Event at the 247 Year Old Morris-Jumel Mansion in Harlem". Official Website. Terry Baker Mulligan. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Downs, Cristin (7 June 2012). "HW Pick: Terry Baker Mulligan’s "Sugar Hill, Where the Sun Rose Over Harlem"". Harlem World. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Rosen, Judith. "Featuring Titles from the Independent Book Publishers Association". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 13 August 2012.