A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a friend of mine in Chicago, State Senator Jacqui Collins (Jacqui and I both participated in the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in June 2005).

Cliff Kelley, a popular talk show host at WVON (The Talk of Chicago: “an interactive forum for the African-American community to discuss current, social, economic, and political issues”) was interviewing Jim Rose, the sports anchor on Chicago’s ABC television station in Chicago about two weeks ago. They were discussing Roger Clemens’s testimony before congress regarding the steroids controversy in professional baseball.

At some point, Rose told Kelley about a book he was reading, Inheriting the Trade, and apparently said he “couldn’t put it down” and recommended it highly. Jacqui gave me the name and number of Kelley’s producer and asked me to call him. In very short order Leah Riviere, my publicist at Beacon Press, had a book and presskit on their way to Chicago.

Yesterday, Cliff Kelley’s producer, Corey Colvin, called me during my long drive home from Marina, California to Bend, and we arranged for me to be interviewed by Mr. Kelley this afternoon.

When Corey called me just before the interview was to begin he told me it would last for 30 minutes for sure. 30 minutes extended to an hour, which extended again to an hour and a half. Approximately half a dozen people called in to ask questions or make comments, and Cliff told me that there were several people on hold when the interview concluded that we were unable to get to. By the end of our 90-minute conversation, Mr. Kelley invited me to return to his show, encouraged me to visit Chicago, and asked me to check into the possibility of screening Traces of the Trade at a black-owned theatre there. I was honored to be interviewed by Cliff Kelley and will now figure out when to go to Chicago.

My tech-savvy cousin James DeWolf Perry was able to make an mp3 recording of the interview and has added it to the book’s website (under Multimedia Coverage on February 26) as well as to his blog (along with his own comments about the interview).

You can also click right here to listen to it.

The word is spreading about Traces of the Trade and Inheriting the Trade. Our family and friends will continue to do what we can to invite people into a deeper conversation about race and the legacy of slavery in the United States.