Atlanta Author Reflects On ‘Hamilton,’ Election And The South

Joan Marcus / Courtesy of Atlantic Records


When best-selling novelist Joshilyn Jackson visited New York City just two days after the presidential election to meet with her agent, editor, publisher and others involved in getting her latest book published, she used part of the trip to see the Broadway play “Hamilton.”

Jackson says, “‘Hamilton’ is a ground-breaking play by any measure, but it was especially meaningful and sobering and affecting in the wake of an election where how we’re going to treat our immigrants has been a huge point of contention.”

The morning after watching the play, Jackson and her husband went to a diner along the route for a Veterans Day parade and suddenly found themselves sitting next to a group of Miss USA pageant contestants, including Miss South Carolina.

“I didn’t need to read the sashes to know that the tallest, the blondest and the loudest was from a southern state.” Jackson explains. As she and her husband sat eating breakfast, Jackson overheard Miss South Carolina wishing that they had been able to get tickets to see “Hamilton.” Knowing they had a southern connection, Jackson leaned over and engaged her, saying she had seen the play last night.

Soon enough, the two tables had merged and Jackson was learning about the nonprofits each of the women had created, including Miss South Carolina, and it gave her hope.

“As a novelist, as a southerner, as a person who wants to tell our stories, this girl is a rising South I want to believe in.” Jackson Says. “Worried as I am right now, and don’t get me wrong I’m very worried. I was glad to meet this America, this South. It exists. I had breakfast with it.”

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