Each week this summer we’re profiling a character from Studs Terkel’s 1992 oral history, Race. Twenty years after Studs’ book was published, we want to see how these characters' thoughts and feelings on race have changed…or not changed.
As part of our series Race: Out Loud, we’re asking people to read – or re-read – Studs’ book and to speak up about what feelings the book stirs up in them. We invite you to follow along and to join the discussion at WBEZ.org/raceoutloud.
Joseph Lattimore was a 50-year-old insurance broker when he spoke with Studs for the book, Race. Today, Lattimore is retired and lives on the Southeast Side of Chicago.
Lattimore grew up in Mississippi and went to a prestigious black boarding school called Piney Woods, where his mother taught. He described to Studs an experience he had there when he was four or five years old.
Studs' first encounter with Joe Lattimore was when Studs was a guest on a black radio station and Lattimore called in. Here he describes some of what he and Studs talked about on that show.
Lattimore is outspoken and funny. But he also has a keen sense of history. Here he talks about what's gotten better and what's gotten worse since he spoke with Studs twenty years ago.
And here he describes his experiences in Marquette Park on the day Dr. Martin Luther King marched for open housing.
Lattimore makes frequent analogies. Here he compares the black experience to something you might see out on Lake Michigan.
The audio of Lattimore's original interview with Studs can be found here.
Be sure to check the Race: Out Loud homepage next week, when we'll feature Salim Muwakkil, a journalist and senior editor at In These Times as well as a radio host.
**Robert Wildeboer contributed to this report.