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Journalism Professor Releases Book Discussing AIDS Epidemic in the South
November 1, 2011

TALLAHASSEE, Fla
. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) Professor Andrew Skerritt will host a reception and book signing in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) Gallery on Tuesday, November 1 at 5:30 p.m. for his book, Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial, and the AIDS Epidemic in the South.
   
The book deals with the ongoing complexities of battling the virus in America, despite the spread of AIDS awareness and medical breakthroughs of the past 30 years.
   
Skerritt, a professor in SJGC, is a longtime journalist who has contributed to publications all over the country including the St. Petersburg Times, Asbury Park Press, Journal (N.Y.) News, Charlotte Observer, Rock Hill Herald, Rochester Democrat, Tallahassee Democrat and theRoot.com.

Focusing on the African-American Pegram family in Clover, S.C., the book documents how one woman—Tricia Ann, a sister, aunt, wife, mother and pastor—cares for Carolyn, her drug-addicted and AIDS-infected sister, and Carolyn’s young son. Relying on her faith, Tricia Ann enters into a fight to save others dying of AIDS in her rural Southern neighborhood, but often ends up presiding over funerals instead—funerals where the cause of death is rarely admitted.

Skerritt traces the impoverished family’s history and depicts how taboos about love, race and sexuality—combined with Southern conservatism, white privilege and black oppression—continue to create an unacceptable death toll into the 21st century.

A native of London, England, Skerritt grew up on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Howard University and a master of liberal arts degree from Winthrop University. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists.

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