Web Extra: Haizlip Reads a Letter Replying to Her First Book, 'The Sweeter the Juice'
Shirlee Taylor Haizlip
Cover for Haizlip's book Finding Grace : Two Sisters and the Search for Meaning Beyond the Color Line (Free Press 2004)
Web Extra: Hear Haizlip Read an Excerpt from 'Finding Grace'
The recent disclosure that the late Sen. Strom Thurmond had a daughter with a young black woman sent shockwaves through the nation, bringing to surface some of American's greatest demons -- race, class, family and identity.
The white Southerner, who once ran for president as a segregationist Dixiecrat, kept the truth secret for decades, until his daughter Essie Mae Washington-Williams revealed the truth.
Author Shirlee Taylor Haizlip's groundbreaking bestseller The Sweeter the Juice documented her quest to reunite her African-American mother with Haizlip's aunt, who'd passed as white.
Haizlip's sequel, Finding Grace: Two Sisters and the Search for Meaning Beyond the Color Line, is a meditation on America's own caste system of race and class -- a system that continues to divide families and the nation.
She joined NPR's Tavis Smiley in his Los Angeles studio recently to talk about race relations in America today.