• Let Your Memoir Be Your Resistance: How Booker Wright's Granddaughter Turned His Story, and Her Journey to Uncover it, into American History

      Johnson, Yvette (University of Alaska Anchorage. Bookstore, 2018-02-05)
      In 2011, Yvette Johnson traveled back to Greenwood, Mississippi–home of the Emmett Till murder and home of the man convicted of slaying Medgar Evers–to uncover true the story of her late grandfather Booker Wright. Booker Wright spent his evenings waiting tables for Whites at a local restaurant and his mornings running his own business. In the 1966 NBC interview and documentary *Mississippi: A Self-Portrait*, his remark, “Have to keep that smile,” sent shock waves throughout America. And what life was truly like for Black people of Greenwood, Mississippi finally received national attention. Four decades later, Yvette Johnson uncovered footage of the controversial documentary. Oddly, no one in her family knew of his television appearance. Even more curious for Yvette was that for most of her life she had barely heard mention of her grandfather’s name or stories explaining his murder. Due to this silence, and her own struggles with race and identity, Yvette Johnson decided to honor the memory of Booker Wright and write The Song and the Silence: A Story about Family, Race, and What Was Revealed in a Small Town in the Mississippi Delta While Searching for Booker Wright. Yvette Johnson currently works as the Executive Director of The Booker Wright Project. In this role, she creates and facilitates workshops on unconscious bias and privilege. This event is sponsored with the UAA Dept. of Sociology, UAA Student Affairs, and UAA Diversity Action Council.