Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lessons in storytelling

My iPod battery ran out on the way to work yesterday, so I had one of my rare days of listening to live radio on the commute.

I was fortunate enough to hear an absolutely amazing piece on All Things Considered. Michele Norris interviewed Franklin McCain, one of the four students who initiated the sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter on February 1, 1960.

"Interview" isn't an accurate description of this piece - Norris asked one or two questions initially, and McCain took it from there, making it more of a narrative than a Q&A.

McCain has an accent that's almost closer to Down East Maine (think Spitfire Grill) than Deep South.

Besides that, he has an incredible way with words. He described the "natural high" that came fifteen seconds after sitting down on the stool: "a feeling of liberation, restored manhood."

And the man knows how to tell a story. This isn't just a reminiscence about one of the seminal moments in civil rights history, it's also a realization that McCain had his own prejudices that day - and how he responded.

(Side note: I'm curious about the editing that went into this piece - was Norris' conversation with McCain initially more of a dialogue, or did McCain tell his story without interruption?

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