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August 30, 2019 from 3pm to 6pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be a featured author at Little Switzerland Books and Beans on Friday, August 30, from 3-5. A book signing will follow. Julia will read from her latest books A Neighborhood Changes, A Part of Me, and A Place That Was Home.See More
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Guide to Antebellum Flat Rock

"The introduction of my new publication, Guide to Antebellum Flat Rock will be launched on Sept 14 2019 at 1:30 PM at the Henderson County Court House 500 Main Street. A talk and a brief slide show follows with refreshments afterward. …"
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Can women rescue the planet from ecological disaster?Nancy Werking Poling will launch her new novel, WHILE EARTH STILL SPEAKS, set in WNC. She'll tell the stories behind the story: How did Mary (more crone than virgin) get into the narrative? And Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth?See More
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Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
Apr 8
In 1959, the writer John Howard Griffin decided to go through with a daring, personal experiment. Using drug medication and a sun lamp, he transformed his skin to change from a white man to a black man. He shaved his head and added a dark cream. His plan was to tour around the South and write about his experiences under a secret guise. Close friends and family thought he was crazy when he discussed the idea, but he had such conviction to find out for himself what it would be like for a white man to experience life as a black man in the South in 1959.
Starting out in New Orleans and traveling to Mississippi, Alabama, back to New Orleans and on to Atlanta, he discovered all the raw hatred of racial prejudice, the complexities of racial tensions within the black community, the injustices and indignities places upon people merely because of skin color, but also surprises in the way people can show kindness to a stranger. Griffin first published his findings in a series of articles for Sepia magazine and then as a complete book, Black Like Me. It is a powerful story of what happens when we see life from another person's point of view.
For example, Griffin is forced to endure racial epithets and has food thrown at him while walking down the street minding his own business. He gets refused time and time again to enter certain businesses or to have a traveler's check cashed. He is glared at by whites when he sits in public places or simply buys a bus ticket at the counter. He searches miles for a bus ticket or a bathroom -- all because of his skin color.
Keeping a diary of his experiences from Oct. 28, 1959 to Aug. 7, 1960, Griffin reports on open hostilities, the smoldering hatred that arises from inequities, conversations he has with people of different walks of life, and the insights he discovers while living among strangers. He learns firsthand how prejudice dehumanizes people, almost to the point of absurdity.
While reading this book today -- some 40 years after it was written -- we might say, "We've come a long way, baby!" However, blatant and subtle forms of racism and prejudice continue to persist like strains of a virus that resist the toughest antibiotics. How we treat subgroups in our society -- whether it's targeting people because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, age or other -- will inform us as to whether we may truly progress as a civilization striving to live to the fullest of our democratic ideals. Griffin's experience calls us to look into ourselves and see how we are all capable of carrying out acts of kindness and love — or perpetuating the very evils we would not want cast upon ourselves or the ones we love.

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Comment by Michael Beadle on July 8, 2009 at 1:13pm
I see your point on having a new perspective on this book. I feel that way too. It's hard to imagine living through such racial tension in the 1950s in Mississippi as a black man. Apparently, from what I've read, the medical procedure to change his skin color was pretty experimental, and he had to have the process sped up with extra medicine to make the transition quicker. So as it was dangerous enough to be a black man in the South at that time, living a double identity and not knowing if the skin coloring medication would have an adverse effect on his health must have created plenty of anxiety. I'm amazed at how much he remembered from conversations with people that he documents in his diary entries. Very sharp observations.
Comment by Danny Bernstein on July 8, 2009 at 8:53am
Hi Michael:
I remember that book vividly. So thanks for bringing it back to the forefront.
I think that reading books like that now puts another perspective on it.
Reading the book as a teenager in New York, I could not figure out how he did this medically.
Danny
www.hikertohiker.com

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