What’s Willie Griffin Reading?

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Dr. Willie Griffin is a historian who studies the black press and Charlotte’s local African American history, an educator, a native Charlottean, and the historian at Levine Museum of the New South. We’re looking forward to the publication of his biography of Trezzvant W. Anderson, and in the meantime we asked him to share his reading list:

In college, my wife introduced me to Octavia Butler, a science fiction writer who grew up in California.  I really love her books and one of my favorite works by her is Kindred. It explores the interconnectedness of our shared history.

I also started reading Walter Mosley, a prolific mystery writer, in undergrad. I love his Easy Rawlins series.

In graduate school at Morgan State University, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn’s African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 opened my eyes to the importance of telling the stories of Black women.

While completing my doctorate, I read the works of Heather A. Williams, who wrote Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom and Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery. These profoundly impacted my understanding of African American history during the critical period of transition from enslavement to freedom.

At present, as I write my biography of Trezzvant W. Anderson, I am re-reading Janette T. Greenwood’s Bittersweet Legacy: The Black and White “Better Classes” in Charlotte, 1850-1910 and Tom Hanchett’s Sorting Out the New South City: Race, Class, and Urban Development in Charlotte, 1875-1975.

Finally, with the recent death of Lawrence Otis Graham, I decided to pick up his controversial Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class.

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