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Ellen Ann Fentress plumbs how the South segregates in more ways than one

Ellen Ann Fentress grew up a white girl in Mississippi, and it took her a long time to realize exactly what that meant.

Starting in eighth grade, her parents sent her to a segregation academy — one of the private schools that sprung up throughout the South after the federal government forced public schools to integrate.

And from girlhood into womanhood, she took on the traditional roles of volunteer and helper and wife and mother.

Now she has written a personal history that tries to come to terms with that. It’s called “The Steps We Take: A Memoir of Southern Reckoning.”

And she has also built a website called The Admissions Project, where people who grew up in the era of the segregation academies talk about their experiences.

Ellen Ann explores deep-rooted Southern culture, helps us understand how we live now and how we got here.

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