How An Old White Guy Got Woke
Almost 65 years after covering the murder trial that helped spark the Civil Rights movement, Dan Wakefield is finally gaining a fuller appreciation of the struggle.
In 1969, L.S. Ayres invited native son Kurt Vonnegut to sign copies of his latest novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, in the downtown department store. At earlier stops on the book tour, the literary icon had drawn throngs of fans; here, he was met with indifference—and the irony didn’t escape him. “I sold thirteen books in two hours, every one of them to a relative,” Vonnegut wrote to fellow novelist and Shortridge High grad Dan Wakefield. “Word of honor.”
“As all of us change, this place stays the same. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to get in here. And one of the first times I bartended, my grandfather was sitting at the end of the bar watching everything I did. Which was intimidating. I just wish he could see me back there now.”