Diane McWhorter

Diane McWhorter

Diane McWhorter, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, is a long-time contributor to The New York Times and writes for the Op-Ed page of USA Today. Her articles about race, politics, and culture have appeared in many national publications, including The Washington Post. Her first book, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama – The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 2001), won the Pulitzer Prize. A 2013 edition includes a new foreword by the author. She also wrote A Dream of Freedom, a young adult history of the civil rights movement (Scholastic, 2004). In 2013, The University of Alabama’s journalism department is awarding Ms. McWhorter the 2003 Clarence Cason Writing Award. She lives in New York City.

Weeping clandestinely at To Kill a Mockingbird

Brooke Hill seniors, on whom we all had crushes, chauffeured us downtown to the Melba Theater for a sneak preview of the movie – the official premiere was taking place the following night. At the beginning of the show, we nodded appreciatively when Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) told his daughter, “Don’t say nigger, Scout,” and we recognized Calpurnia, the family maid, as a dead ringer for the fussy black women of our own kitchens. But soon our minds balked at the racial world of Scout’s South Alabama. For the first time, we came face-to-face with the central racial preoccupation of the southern white psyche, the dynamics that justified and ennobled Our Way of Live: the rape of a white woman by a black man. (more…)