Art Gilliam shared his experience of growing up in the Deep South during the 1950s in his new book ‘One America,’ and this past weekend discussed some of these themes at a book signing.
A Nashville native, Art Gilliam returned to his city of birth to deliver a talk on his book ‘One America,’ which discusses his personal story of growing up in a segregated South during the 1950s. He went into detail not only on the book, but on his take on racial prejudices in America and how they began.
Gilliam’s book signing was the final event for the Church of Scientology’s month-long celebration of Black History Month. Earlier in the month, the church hosted the Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation’s exhibit of memorabilia from the New York Rens’ and Harlem Globetrotters’ early years (1900-1960) and a theatrical tribute to African American women, specifically Maya Angelou, Sojourner Truth and Nikki Giovanni performed by Lizzie Kimbrough.
According to thehistorymakers.com, Art Gilliam became the first African-American radio station owner in Memphis when he bought WLOK Radio in 1977. He started his work in the media writing a regular weekly op-ed column for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper as the first African-American to write for the paper before he became the first African-American television newscaster in Memphis as news anchor at WMC-TV (the NBC affiliate) in Memphis. He left Memphis for a time to serve in the Washington congressional office of Congressman Harold Ford, Sr., the first African-American to be elected to Congress from Tennessee.
In ‘One America,’ Gilliam shares his experiences as a young black child growing up in the segregated South in the 1950s, a time when racism was overt and pervasive. His story takes a turn when his education at a New England prep school and then Yale University as a young teenager led to a compelling change in his perspective.
Gilliam has been a front row witness to a dramatic change in race relations in the United States but knows that we have not yet healed the wounds of the past. “I believe that the future greatness of our nation depends on our ability to move beyond our racial history and truly become One America,” says Gilliam. “This book reflects my hope and vision for America.”
For more information on Art Gilliam or his book, visit oneamericabook.com. For more information on events in the Church of Scientology, visit scientology-ccnashville.org.