Salaam Green was born in the Black Belt of Alabama and was raised by a family of educators and her single mother. She grew up in a poverty-stricken area because there was no industry or financial empowerment in the Black Belt region.
However, despite the circumstances, Salaam had several influential people in her life who encouraged her to read, write, and dream for a bright future. When her mom found out she wanted to be a writer as a little girl, she encouraged Salaam to read more books. Her auntie, who was also her first grade teacher, had her write for the first time in a little book. It was then when Salaam realized she could put all of her imagination into her writing. In middle school, Salaam’s mom introduced her to the University of Montevallo and she fell in love with it. Her sixth grade teacher instilled the hope inside of her that she would attend that school one day.
Sure enough, Salaam graduated from the University of Montevallo with an English degree. She soon realized that she wasn’t making money as a writer at first, and decided to go back to school to work in early childhood education. Salaam worked with babies and toddlers for years, and when she decided she was too old to work with babies and kids, she pursued a career as an administrator working for the State of Alabama.
Later in life, as she was working as an administrator, Salaam went through a divorce and a career change, and fell into a depression as so many new life changes were going on around her.
Because of this, Salaam was able to reignite her passion for writing. She discusses a writing class that she signed up for, and for four years, she sat on a “red couch” and “rewrote her life,” which helped her come out of depression and reframe her identity.
Salaam decided to start her own business of “red couch writers” through her company called Literary Healing Arts in 2016. Her target audience is other women who are challenged by personal adversity, and she wants to help overcome the norms of corporate America. Red Couch Writers allows women to ask themselves questions like “how are you feeling today,” “what do you want to let go of,” and “what do you want to keep?” She organizes classes and workshops for organizations with hopes that they can all “write themselves back together again.”
Salaam has been awarded the Poet Award for Innovation in Alabama for writing about the place where the world comes to create.
To hear more about Salaam Green’s story, click here to listen to her segment on our podcast.
Contributed by Maya Donaldson