Wille Little

In the Sticks, $65
Willie Little, 2019

Little, Willie. In the Sticks. Edited by Giovanna Violi. Curatorlove, 2019. Funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council with support from Charles Froelick and the staff at Froelick Gallery.

 

Table of Contents (91 pages)

  • Foreword by Bruce Guenther, Former Director and Chief Curator of Portland Art Museum
  • Introduction by Willie Little
  • Collection of Stories by Willie Little
  • Artist Plates

 

Review from the back cover:

 

"When the Center for Doc Studies at Duke, where I pretend to work, landed Willie Little's "Juke Joint," I kept slipping downstairs to perch at the weathered counter amid indulgences of my youth--pickled pigs' feet, orange sherbet "Push-ups," moonpies, "nabs" and Nehi Grape---and hear Otis and Aretha and the Four Tops wail from Willie's Wurlitzer. It felt secret, soulful, sanctified.

 

When I read In the Sticks, I understood why: as segregated as the "Christian academies" and the Ku Klux Klan and the Methodist Church tried to keep me and Willie, we sweated in the same tobacco fields; drank grape Kool-Aid out of Mason jars; knelt by the bed to say our prayers at night; worshipped at Parker's Barbecue; received poisonous instructions about race and manhood; carried our own secrets, sorrows, and stories; fled when we could only to spend the rest of our lives going back to Pactolus and Little Washington, Farmville and Snow Hill, where, as Ralph Ellison put it, we "fingered the jagged grain" of blues truth and baptized our dead, made them live on in the shadows where memories, visions and stories abide.

 

In the Sticks is like sitting in the summer grass, smoking a stolen cigarette, infatuated again suddenly dumbstruck by clouds of lightning bugs wafting up from the sweet-smelling honeysuckle, and running to pun ch holes in the lids of old Duke's mayonnaise jars to capture their lightning, yet knowing even then that we were defying gravity. Willie Little, however, has done just that."

 

Timothy B. Tyson
Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Author of Blood Done Sign My Name and The Blood of Emmett Till

 

ISBN 978-0-359-97447-4

91 pages