On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Janis F. Kearney about her memoir Sundays With TJ: 100 Years of Memories on Varner Road--a journey with her 107 year old father, born in 1906, just 40 years after slavery in the town of Lake Village, Arkansas.
“I chose this role some 50 years ago on Varner Road. Thomas "TJ" Kearney was the storyteller and I, the rememberer of his words, even his unspoken meanings,” writes Kearney.
So let's wander down Varner Road, take a steamboat down the Mississippi, ride the rails, work as a sharecropper and maybe even figure out the magical secret to longevity in an unforgettable journey through T.J's life. At 107, his only regrets "were the people he didn't meet, the places he never visited, if he only had more time."
His daughter, Janis served as former President Bill Clinton’s diarist during his years in the White House. She also inherited the role of notable Arkansas civil rights leader Daisy Bates in publishing the Arkansas State Press from 1987 to 1992.
Support for this program was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
We’d like to thank musicians featured in this episode:
Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright
Also, thanks to:
Sam Brown, Jacques Courtney and Shay Floyd.