As we enter the holidays, I hope everyone’s staying safe and healthy! Some readers have asked about getting an audio version of The Organ Thieves, so here’s a link to purchasing it and hearing a sample by the gifted reader JD Jackson.
The Organ Thieves has received a major endorsement in the December issue of Scientific American. The review by editor Andrea Gawrylewski begins by noting America’s poor track record when it comes to providing equitable health care for Black Americans.
“The roots of this inequity are firmly rooted in racism, not race, writer Jones shows in this gripping book,” she writes.
Interest continues to spread across various media outlets, which you can see here at Media/Clips. These include a live stream interview on “Between the Covers” with Ann Bocock of South Florida PBS (the segment is slated for broadcast in early 2021, with possible national PBS broadcast).
You can also hear a fine interview by Julie Rose on “Top of Mind” on BYU Radio. And Brian Ellis, an MFA student at Hollins University, just interviewed me for the university’s Jackson Center for Creative Writing. Click here!
Readers continue to amaze and educate me about their own experiences. With his approval, I’m sharing one man’s poignant recollection about growing up in a Black family in rural Virginia in the 1950s. Reading The Organ Thieves brought back memories of his parents quietly discussing the treatment of African Americans in Virginia.
“We were always told to go outside or leave the room when they talked about things like that,” he wrote me. “What I remember them discussing was that there were some experiments relating to body parts and cadavers at MCV.”
In the 1950s, he noted, “Blacks were encouraged to use the Black hospital, Richmond Community. We lived in the town of Bowling Green that had a Black doctor who used Richmond Community. As I remember, he also referred patients to the Fredericksburg hospital as well as Howard University’s Freedmen’s Hospital.”
His father often traveled on business in and around Bowling Green, the county seat of Caroline County, 42 miles north of Richmond.
“He occasionally mentioned that he had been told of grave robbers. Since I was young, it did not particularly interest me. I thought the robbers were after valuables, such as bracelets, rings, and gold. Not bodies!”
Chip Jones is an award-winning author, journalist and former communications director of the Richmond Academy of Medicine. The Organ Thieves is his fourth book.