I met Lain while working on a piece about Brer Rabbit. I became interested in how someone five generations removed interacts with a literary lineage which is still controversial to this day. It wasn’t a heritage he at first embraced, as I discovered.
I was always struck by the Uncle Remus story, "Why the Negro is Black." It's one of the non-Brer Rabbit stories, in which Uncle Remus is telling the young child about the origin of the Negro race. The story goes that way back in the beginning of things, everyone was black-skinned. There was a pool in which people jumped in, and the more they jumped in it, the more their color bleached awaym until some of them were lighter-skinned, and some of them turned out white. At one point, Uncle Remus tells the boy, “Niggers is niggers now, but de time wuz w’en we ‘uz all niggers tergedder!”