In the closing scene of Olivia Hill’s recent memoir “Travel North Black Girl,” the author, who has just spent a long school year with her husband, a teacher in the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq village of Tatitlek on Prince William Sound, boards a plane alone and leaves. It was the early 1980s, and with her marriage crumbling and the couple’s standing in the village damaged by her husband’s growing alcohol and drug problems, Hill decided for the first time in her life to take control of her own future.

“I had gained a sense of power over me that I didn’t have before, by simply making the choice,” Hill told me by phone earlier this summer. “Something I’d had so little of in my life. And in that moment, I made a choice. I put myself on that plane. And I thought it was a choice that was going to make me strong enough to do anything and everything.”

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