On October 26, 1945, Pat Conroy was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Peg and Donald Conroy, and was the first of seven children. Young Pat Conroy changed schools often because of his father’s dedicated career in the military, and eventually Conroy the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina at his father’s insistence. While attending the Citadel, he wrote and published his first book, The Boo.
After Conroy’s graduation from the Citadel, he married a Vietnam War widow with two children and began teaching “underprivileged children in a one-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island,” (SC, n.p.). A year on the job, Conroy was fired for his “unconventional teaching practices–such as his unwillingness to allow corporal punishment of his students–and for his general lack of respect for the school’s administration,” (South, n.p.). The publication of The Water is Wide, in 1972, “evened the score when he exposed the racism and appalling conditions his students endured,” (South, n.p.) and won him “a humanitarian award from the National Education Association and was made into the feature film Conrack, starring Jon Voight” (South, n.p.).
Pat Conroy later moved to Atlanta where he wrote an autobiographical work, The Great Santini (published in 1976); also at that time his parents’ divorce and his own occurred.
The Lords of Discipline, published in 1980, dealt with the Citadel’s “harsh military discipline, racism, and sexism,” and was made into a film (South, n.p.).
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