In this unflinching, honest narrative, an award-winning journalist discovers his family's heritage as slave owners in the South and grapples openly with his whiteness to inspire others to do the same.
"Bracing, candid, and rueful." --Kirkus
Baynard Woods thought he had escaped the backwards ways of the South Carolina he grew up in, a world defined by country music, NASCAR, and the confederacy.
But when a white guy from his hometown of Columbia, S.C.--also the birthplace of secession-- massacred nine Black people in Charleston in the name of Southern whiteness, Woods began to delve into his family's history--and the ways that history has affected his own life.
Upon discovering that his family--both the Baynards and the Woodses--collectively claimed ownership of more than 700 people in 1860 and that his great-grandfather had assassinated a Black politician in 1871, Woods realized his own name was a confederate monument. With assiduous research and brutal self-analysis, Woods uncovers the details of his family's crimes and all of the mundane ways he inherited them...and their coverup. Along with his name, he had inherited privilege, wealth, and all the lies that his ancestors passed down through the generations.
At a time where Southern states are embracing a return to authoritarian, anti-democratic principles, Woods' analysis of how we inherited our whiteness from the twisted psychology of Southern slavers is both trenchant and urgent--but always cast against the foibles and failures of his own life.
Unflinching and uninhibited, Inheritance
is a no-holds-barred memoir that exposes the story from Trump country that you haven't heard while excavating what it means to reckon with whiteness in America today and what it might mean to begin to repair the past.
About the Author
Baynard Woods is an award-winning writer and journalist based in Baltimore. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Oxford American Magazine, and many other publications. He is coauthor, with Brandon Soderberg, of I Got a Monster: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Corrupt Police Squad.