Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill
Time & Location
About The Event
Join the author, an alum of the creative writing program at the UNC-Chapel Hill, for a signing and reading of Catfish Dream.
Catfish Dream centers around the experiences, family, and struggles of Ed Scott Jr. (born in 1922), a prolific farmer in the Mississippi Delta and the first ever nonwhite owner and operator of a catfish plant in the nation.
Scott overcame decades of discrimination and long odds to build an empire of black self-determination from the Delta land. Along the way he ducked Nazi sniper fire in World War II alongside General Patton, marched at Selma, and gave farming advice to civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer.
Both directly and indirectly, the economic and political realities of food and subsistence affect the everyday lives of Delta farmers and the people there. Ed’s own father, Edward Sr., was a former sharecropper turned landowner who was one of the first black men to grow rice in the state. Ed carries this mantle forth with his soybean and rice farming and later with his catfish operation, which fed the black community both physically and symbolically. He provides an example for economic mobility and activism in a region of the country that is one of the nation’s poorest and has one of the most drastic disparities in education and opportunity, a situation especially true for the Delta’s vast African American population. With Catfish Dream Julian Rankin provides a fascinating portrait of a place through his intimate biography of Scott, a hero at once so typical and so exceptional in his community.
Published by University of Georgia Press | Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place series
PRAISE FOR CATFISH DREAM
“For anyone who has bought into the notion that somehow the playing field has been thoroughly leveled since the dawn of the Civil Rights era, this ought to be required reading. It ought to be required reading for everyone else too.”
Steve Yarbrough, author of THE UNMADE WORLD
"CATFISH DREAM is a significant resource on the history of race in the Mississippi Delta. Julian Rankin eloquently describes how Ed Scott courageously struggles with the bureaucracy of racism, only to discover that the system is embedded in our society at both the local and the national levels. Most important, Rankin shows how Scott and his family resisted and ultimately defeated that system."
William Ferris, author of THE SOUTH IN COLOR: A VISUAL JOURNEY
"Mr. Ed Scott is a hero our country needs to learn about, and this portrait of him is strong and beautifully written. His situation and his fate are central to the American experiment. I cannot recommend Mr. Rankin’s storytelling too highly. It is a powerful thing. We owe him a debt."
Randall Kenan, author of THE FIRE THIS TIME