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Slavery Stories

A long lost classic by William Melvin Kelley who coined the term "woke" back in 1962, Esi Edugyan's Booker shortlisted novel & new research.

A long lost classic by William Melvin Kelley, who coined the term "woke" back in 1962 in a New York Times article, Esi Edugyan's Booker shortlisted novel, and new research on slavery with historians Christienna Fryar, Kevin Waite, and Andrea Livesey. Laurence Scott presents.

A Different Drummer was the debut novel of Kelley - first published when he was 24. Compared to William Faulkner and James Baldwin, it was forgotten until an article about it earlier this year. Kelley died aged 79 in 2017. His story imagines the day the black population of a Southern US town decide to get up and all go. Canadian writer Esi Edugyan has imagined a black slave becoming a scientist in her novel Washington Black.

You can hear more Free Thinking discussion on American culture and history here

Producer: Luke Mulhall

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59 minutes