Who was Harry Golden?
Harry Golden was a middle-aged, raspy-voiced, cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving Jewish raconteur from New York’s Lower East Side when he landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the eve of the civil rights movement. He spent the next three decades roasting the painful realities of segregation in the warmth of his wit, first in his improbably titled one-man newspaper, Carolina Israelite, and then in more than twenty books, five of which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Golden was an irrepressible contrarian, both humanitarian and mountebank, and an old-fashioned newspaperman who blogged before blogs existed…
…We Americans love our storytellers and splashy showmen; Golden was both. He repackaged the hard past in more appealing wrappings; he brought the powerful and famous down to size and exalted plain people by preserving small but important moments in their lives. He explored some of the biggest themes a writer can put to paper—prejudice, dignity, and the daily struggle of the working person—with slices of real life, humorously rendered…
…Golden did all this by revealing rankly foolish and hateful manifestations of racism in everyday life, and he did it in his own paper, in hundreds of magazine articles, in radio interviews, in syndicated newspaper columns, and in millions of American living rooms as he traded witty one-liners with the likes of TV hosts Jack Paar and Johnny Carson…
…Golden was not a conventional newspaper editorialist, and he was most definitely not a model Jewish activist or member of the Jewish intelligentsia of his day, those writers and activists who dismissed the value of his work and looked down on the readers who pushed it onto the bestseller lists. Yet he managed something that most of the editorial pages and intellectuals of his day did not. He held on to his moral outrage over racism, believing that America could and would do better.
(For more about the book and about me, please scroll down and see The University of North Carolina Press page devoted to it.)
Scroll down for a list of speaking events, past and upcoming. Here is a link to a talk for the State Library of North Carolina about the book, civil rights, and the use of humor in activism.
Speaking and Teaching (partial list)
"Arguing Well" -- Online classes in February on writing persuasive op-eds, guest columns, and other nonfiction, for Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, New Hampshire.
"Powered by Humor: Harry Golden’s Civil Rights Blogging (before the internet existed)." Online talk for State Libraries of North Carolina, NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Online workshops in February: "Finding the Write-of-Way: Capturing your Journey in Words" and "If These Walls Could Talk: Preserving a House With Words," for Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, New Hampshire
"The joy of writing (and reading) about flawed heroes," online lecture, Laguna Booklovers, Laguna Niguel, CA
"Are you ready to write your book?" One-day online workshop for nonfiction writers.
Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, New Hampshire
Online Shabbat Cultural event, City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, NYC
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Rose Schnitzer Manor
Cedar Sinai Park, Portland, OR
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and Gordon Jewish Community Center, Nashville, TN
Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend service
Lee Chapel, AME Church, Nashville, TN
College of Charleston, Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program
Co-sponsored by the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture
Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel
“Identity Construction: Writing Biographies and Memoirs,” with Reed College Professor and author Roger Porter
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Portland OR
Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries
University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jewish Federation of Greater Portland
Mittleman Jewish Community Center, Portland, OR
Scholar in Residence, Congregation Beit Haverim
No Alibis Bookstore
Belfast, Northern Ireland
"One Man And His Very Small Newspaper...And Civil Rights in America," sponsored by Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Bridge American History Colloquium.
Columbia Jewish Book Festival
Katie & Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center, Columbia, SC
Special Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library
University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Fall For the Book Festival
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia
Newport News, VA
Quail Ridge Books & Music
The Regulator Bookshop
Event sponsored by Jewish Community Center, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library,
the Levine-Sklut Judaic Library of the Jewish Community Center, and the Levine Museum of the New South, Charlotte, NC
Congregation Beth Israel