Ethel Payne was considered the First Lady of the Black press from the fifties and for decades after “but she was generally out of sight of white America.”. This driven and intrepid journalist was there to cover the modern history of the struggle for civil rights and was a Washington correspondent, did field reporting from the Vietnam War, reported from many countries in Africa and around the world. She was a tenacious reporter who witnessed race relations in an international arena. Tonight on Inquiry, we talk with writer and biographer JAMES MCGRATH MORRIS about his wonderful new biography: EYE ON THE STRUGGLE: ETHEL PAYNE, THE FIRST LADY OF THE BLACK PRESS.
When this novel was published in the early 1950s, it caused an extraordinary uproar. Conservatives thought it was filth; while liberals considered it lowbrow trash. The author did not conform to cultural ideals of what a woman novelist should look like or behave. But the novel was immensely popular because it spoke to women about things that were important in their lives but that were never mentioned in “polite society”. Tonight on Inquiry, we talk with ARDIS CAMERON , Professor of American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine about her revealing new book: UNBUTTONING AMERICA: A BIOGRAPHY OF PEYTON PLACE.