Author Deborah E. McDowell will share personal recollections and read excerpts from her memoir Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories of Kin. McDowell grew up in the Pipe Shop neighborhood of Bessemer, Alabama, the hometown of self-taught artist Ronald Lockett. The discussion is organized in conjunction with Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett.
In the illuminating language of memory, McDowell tells the story of her family, living a segregated life in Bessemer, Alabama, where her father worked at U.S. Foundry and Pipe, nicknamed Pipe Shop. Through the intimate details of their daily lives, she shows us how civil rights affected a working-class town among three generations of women and men. McDowell movingly uncovers a world rarely portrayed, where she was raised to love the sounds and meanings of words and to value a place and culture that has passed.