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Joseph Ewoodzie sets the table for a look at race and class in the South through food

Joseph “Piko” Ewoodzie has written a book with a deceptively simple title.

The book is called “Getting Something To Eat In Jackson,” and on its surface, it’s about exactly that: how different Black people in Jackson, Mississippi, decide what to eat every day.

But below the surface there’s a lot going on — how the system makes it hard for homeless people to escape, how difficult it can be to break from tradition, how aspirations to a better life can sometimes be turned against you. Ewoodzie’s book is a layered portrait of race and class in the South.

Layered portraits are sort of his specialty. As a sociology professor at Davidson College, he forces students to look closely at the world around them — and he pushes them to help change it.

He’s an immigrant in more ways than one: He grew up in Ghana and studied in the Northeast and Midwest before coming South. He’s here by choice. And he’s trying to both understand the South and make it better.

Show notes

Other music in this episode

Paddington Bear, "Blue Highway" and "Smooth Actor"

Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.