Valerie Still was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, obtained a Masters degree in African and African American Studies at The Ohio State University (2007) and has successfully past her doctorate exams in Sports Humanities at OSU (2010). She is currently working on her doctorate dissertation.
Prior to starting her writing career, Valerie enjoyed resounding success as a basketball player on two continents. She is the University of Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder (male or female) and is one of the top all-time professional basketball players in both Italy and the United States. She won one professional championship in Italy and was an all-star and scoring champion numerous years. She was a member of the USA Women’s National Basketball team and was a charter member of the American Basketball League (ABL), a women’s professional league started in 1996, and was a two-time MVP for the world-champions Columbus Quest. Later, she played and coached in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Valerie lived in Europe for nearly 15 years. While in Italy she hosted her own television show and was a radio commentator for men’s basketball. She is an accomplished pianist and singer with several records to her credit. She is also founder of The Valerie Still Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists youth in their development and in particular, helps young girls grow into mature, healthy, confident women through innovative programs.
Valerie is an outspoken advocate of social reform and has been a coach, a youth director and international print model. She wrote a weekly column for one of Italy’s major newspapers, “L’Unita,” and was an advice columnist for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s web site for young girls.
Currently, her children’s book series, Still Alive on the Underground Railroad: Recollections of an American Family, traces her family’s lineage in America nearly four hundred years to an African known as the Guinea Prince. The Still family story is replete with heroism and accomplishment in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Noted family members include William Still, known as “Father of the Underground Railroad,” an abolitionist who assisted escaping enslaved African Americans and documented each case. He later published the classic The Underground Railroad in 1871, and his brother and Valerie’s great-great-grandfather, Dr. James Still published his autobiography, Early Recollections and Life of Dr. James Still in 1877. The story of Peter Still, James and William’s older brother was published in 1856 by Kate E. R. Pickard. The Kidnapped and the Ransomed: Recollections of Peter Still and his Wife “Vina,” after Forty Years of Slavery exposed the cruel and inhumane institution of American Slavery.
In 2006 the state of New Jersey purchased one of Dr. Still’s properties where the 19th century medical office of Dr. James Still sits. It is the first and only acquisition of an African American historic site by the state of New Jersey. Valerie is currently working with the state of New Jersey in the restoration of the property and building into a national museum and historic monument through the Dr. James Still Preservation Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization.
Valerie makes her home in Palmyra, NJ with her 17-year-old son, Aaron.