75d: Candice Bergen / Esther Phillips
[The “BLACK PERSPECTIVE” logo appears on screen for several seconds, then FADE to Garrett Morris in his host’s chair.]
Garrett Morris: Good evening, this is Garrett Morris, and welcome to “Black Perspective.” My guest this evening is a distinguished authoress who has written such scathing novels as “Sharecropper ‘75” and “Charcoal City.” She was a script consultant on the film “Sounder,” and has given many of us a most enriching insight into the urban black experience. Miss Jane Curtin.
[CUT to Jane sitting in the next chair and smiling.]
Garrett Morris: Welcome, soul sister Curtin. I have never met you, but I’m a big fan of your work.
Jane Curtin: Thank you very much. I’m happy to be here tonight.
Garrett Morris: Uh, Jane, if I may call you that, uh, your writing suggests a lineage, a background steeped in the traditions of the sharecroppers of the ‘30s who ultimately migrated to the large cities. Uh, where were you raised as a little girl?
Jane Curtin: Well, as a matter of fact, Garrett, I was raised in New York, New York City, to be exact.
Garrett Morris: Ah, I suppose, then, that, uh, growing up in Harlem gave you this animal alertness, this, uh, this street sense that seems to permeate the core of your work.
Jane Curtin: Not exactly, Garrett. I grew up in midtown Manhattan, not far from the studio here, Madiston--Madison and 63rd. But I do feel that the conscience of my writing has been strongly influenced by the plight of my brothers and sisters in the ghetto areas you speak of. The most important relationship to this, I think, is that, uh, if you are one of us, you can speak and feel for all of us, no matter where you come from.
Garrett Morris: Right on. Um, Jane, uh, I’m sure that you and I agree on this, but for the sake of our viewers, I’m going to ask you anyway. Which do you prefer: “black,” “Afro-American,” “Negro”...
Jane Curtin: [hold up palms] I prefer simply, “jungle bunny.”
[Jane and Garrett both laugh heartily.]
Jane Curtin: Uh, “black” is fine, Garrett, “black” is fine.
Garrett Morris: [laughing] Any, uh, suggestions for young black writers?
Jane Curtin: [intensely] Write what you know.
Garrett Morris: Mm-hm.
Jane Curtin: Write what you feel. Write the truth.
Garrett Morris: Uh, I am holding here, I’m holding here a copy of your newest book, “Shadows.” And there is no denying that, in person, you look nothing at all like your picture.
[Garrett turns the book around to show a black woman on the back cover.]
Garrett Morris: I, I, I’m sure that you must hear this a lot.
Jane Curtin: Yes, I do, quite frequently. But I must be honest: I don’t photograph well at all. [laughs]
Garrett Morris: Well, thank you, Jane Curtin, for being with us here on “Black Perspective.” [to camera] Be with us next week, when our guest will be Andre Prevet.
[FADE to “BLACK PERSPECTIVE” logo and theme music.]
Thanks to Joe Cornfield for this transcript!