"Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance" (Encore Presentation)
(Note: This interview originally aired back in February.) The author and journalist Mark Whitaker is our guest on StudioTulsa. A former managing editor of CNN Worldwide, and a previous Washington bureau chief for NBC News, Whitaker has a new book out, which he tells us about. It's an "expansive, prodigiously researched, and masterfully told history" (Kirkus Reviews) called "Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance." As was noted in an appreciation of this book in USA Today: "Pittsburgh was one of the country's citadels of black aspiration in music, sports, business, and culture. This is the world affectionately summoned back to life with zest and passion by Mark Whitaker in 'Smoketown.' There's something close to enchantment to be found in the stories Whitaker unpacks piece by piece, name by glittering name. Black excellence, black talent, and black achievement were of such incandescence in Pittsburgh for most of the late century's first half that one imagines them piercing through the thickest mesh of soot and smog draping the city during its coal-and-steel heyday.... Some of these stories have had books of their own. Others seem poised for books of their own. For now, this one, fashioned with love and rigor, provides these stories a sturdy, substantial home."