Air Dates: November 13-19, 2023
The elements of a scary story might be exotic, super-natural, or even mundane. Tananarive Due weaves all of those things together in an ethereal world of her creation to explore the violence of the Jim Crow South.
Due is an award-winning author who teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at the University of California-Los Angeles. She is an executive producer for the documentary, “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror,” and has written for “The Twilight Zone” and “Horror Noire” projects. She is co-writing a Black horror graphic novel, “The Keeper,” alongside her husband, Steven Barnes. Due’s work in the Black speculative fiction genre has won various awards including an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award. Her books include “Ghost Summer: Stories,” “My Soul to Keep,” and “The Good House.” She co-authored, “Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir,” with her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Due. Her new historical fiction book, “The Reformatory,” is based on the life of her relative, Robert Stephens. Set in Jim Crow Florida, it follows twelve-year-old Robbie Stephens, Jr. who is sent to a reformatory, where he must learn how to navigate the harsh reality of the Jim Crow South.
On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Due discusses her new book and the shift in attitudes towards aspects of identity and race in contemporary times. She says, “we do not look like Americans to a lot of people. Mexican Americans do not look like Americans, and I find it fascinating as someone who grew up in Florida during the Cold War era, Americanism versus Communism, and the Soviet Union was the big boogeyman. There are so many people now who would romanticize Russia as sort of a white ethnostate, prioritizing that over the country that they live in and that their parents lived in.”
“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a project of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.