Charles Blow Visits Tulane University

New York Times columnist grew up 310 miles northwest of New Orleans.

Gambit has a brief but interesting summary of New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s talk at Tulane University in New Orleans. The event, titled “The Intersection of Social Justice and Journalism,” was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Dixon Hall.

The article also makes passing reference to Blow having grown up in Gibsland, La., a small community located 310 miles northwest of The Big Easy. That got FishbowlNY thinking about the writer’s evocative 2014 memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Check out this great passage:

I was born in the summer of 1970, the last of five boys stretched over eight years. My parents were a struggling young couple who had been married one afternoon under a shade tree by a preacher without a church. No guests or fancy dress, just the two of them, lost in love, and the preacher taking a break from working on a house.

By the time I came along, my mother was a dutiful wife growing dead-ass tired of working on a dead-end marriage and a dead-end job. My father was a construction worker by trade, a pool shark by habit, and a serial philanderer by compulsion.

With the ascension of Moonlight this film awards season, Blow’s book is well worth reading (or re-reading). The memoir received numerous rave reviews at the time of original publication, including this praise from MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: ‘When you finish Charles Blow’s mesmerizing memoir, you will cry. And you will better understand poverty, the south, racism, sex, fear, rage and love. Then you will miss being in his authorial grip. Then you will start reading this stunning book again.’

On the same day as the Tulane event, the Times published Blow’s op-ed about Trump’s attack on Congressman John Lewis. There are some poetic words there, too:

Stop and think about what you just read: A lecher attacking a legend; a man of moral depravity attacking a man of moral certitude; an intellectual weakling attacking a warrior for justice. This on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, no less.