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"How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood"

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Aired on Wednesday, May 20th.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we chat with the well-regarded Atlanta-based author, Jim Grimsley, who is best known for his novels "Winter Birds," "Dream Boy," and "My Drowning." Grimsley has a new memoir out, "How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood," which he tells us about. In this book, which looks back on his rural 1960s North Carolina childhood, he writes: "White people declared that the South would rise again. Black people raised one fist and chanted for black power. Somehow we negotiated a space between those poles and learned to sit in classrooms together.... Lawyers, judges, adults declared that the days of separate schools were over, but we were the ones who took the next step. History gave us a piece of itself. We made of it what we could." As a critic of this autobiography noted in The Charlotte Observer: "Excellent.... Layer by layer, young Grimsley sheds his deepest beliefs, prime among them that white skin bestows superiority.... A must-read book." And further, per Bookreporter.com: "Grimsley has a powerful tale to tell, about change and the fears and triumphs that go with it.... Despite the continued crossfire, [the author] and his classmates...desegregated the schools of Jones County and became instruments of its history."

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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