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SouthBound: Latria Graham Gets Lost In The Wilderness, And Finds Herself Back Home

Latria Graham photo
Photo by Carlo Nasisse

I met Latria Graham last year at a book event I did down in Spartanburg. She was kind and smart and funny. And when I went and looked up her writing, I found out that she was also being modest.

Her voice jumps off the page and pulls you in, even as she’s telling you uncomfortable truths about race and property and what it’s like to be Black in the wilderness.

Graham is a contributing editor for Garden & Gun and she has written for Southern Living, the Oxford American and many others. Her most famous pieces so far are a pair of stories she wrote for Outside magazine about the troubled racial history of outdoor spaces from pools to beaches to national parks.

She has been all over the country and all over the world to tell stories. But she has also circled back home to live in South Carolina -- a place that holds mixed blessings for her. Most every Southerner has those dueling feelings about this place, but Latria helped me think more deeply about the extra layers Black Southerners have to confront every day.

Show notes:

Other music in this episode:

  • The Polish Ambassadors, "Forest Funk"
  • Release The Long Ships, "The Heart of the Mountain"
Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary that airs every Monday. He's the author of "The Elephant in the Room," a memoir about life as an overweight man in a growing America. He spent 23 years as a reporter and local columnist for the Charlotte Observer, where he was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in commentary. He has also written for publications including Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Garden & Gun. He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia and was a 2008-09 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Tommy and his wife, Alix Felsing, live in Charlotte.