Writer Sam Greenlee’s controversial 1969 novel “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” told the story of Freeman, an African-American man with CIA training, a militant spirit and a seething anger at America’s racial and social injustices. The book became a cult favorite and later a film.
The book’s bold commentaries on race, class, education and violence were reflections of how disenfranchised communities thought about surviving in an unjust society as the fight for civil rights waged on. This weekend, the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham is hosting a discussion of Greenlee’s book and the subsequent film with a panel of scholars. They include Sheila Smith McKoy, associate professor of English at North Carolina State University and Director of the school’s African Cultural Center, and Charlene Regester, associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. McKoy and Regester join host Frank Stasio to talk about literary legacy of “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” and how its story resonates with a modern day audience.