About the Program
In this Encore Booknotes from November 1996, journalist and author Leon Dash discusses his biography, "Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America" with host Brian Lamb. For four years, Leon Dash followed the lives of Rosa Lee Cunningham, her eight children, and five of her grandchildren. Rosa Lee spent much of her life as an addict, on public assistance and in and out of prison for theft. She and several of her children contracted AIDS due to their drug habits. Six of her children are functionally illiterate. In the book, Mr. Dash chronicles the details of her life and history. He alleges a correlation between Rosa Lee's personal story and the growth of the black underclass to historical and sociological factors. This was the first program to air on BookTV on September 12, 1998 at 8am ET.