State of the Re:Union with Al Letson: East Jackson, Ohio: As Black as We Wish to Be

Sun, 01/20/2013 - 9:00pm

Pictured: East Jackson residents, Bradley and Sarah Harris with a portrait of themselves taken in the 1970s.

Photo Credit: Lloyd Cederstrand

In East Jackson, OH racial lines have been blurred to invisibility, and people inside the same family can vehemently disagree about whether they are black or white.

In State of the Re:Union with Al Letson: East Jackson, Ohio: As Black as We Wish to Be, airing Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-2, Al Letson and guest producer Lu Olkowski visit a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio. For a century, the residents there have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American despite the fact that they look white. It can be tense and confusing. As a result, everyone's choosing: Am I black? Am I mixed race? Or, am I white? Adding to the confusion, there's a movement afoot to recognize their Native-American heritage.

In State of the Re:Union (SOTRU), Public Radio Talent Quest winner Al Letson travels the country to find those stories -- and tells them with grace, perspective, and deep curiosity. SOTRU explores the resonating themes, stories, challenges and cultural components that create communities across the country and celebrate the commonality that links us as a people. Letson brings his formidable stage and poetry slam skills to the mic in each episode.