On Episode 9 of the WV Podcast, our famous West Virginian is Pearl S. Buck, and we are playing the audio from a visit to a BBQ restaurant called Dem 2 Brothers And A Grill.
The owner is Adrian Bay Wright, a man who has BBQ sauce in his veins and love for his community in his heart. The restaurant is located at 5 Corners on the west side of Charleston, WV.
Welcome to the WV Podcast, West Virginia’s Podcast. This show features the great state of West Virginia and stories of the amazing people who make it such a wonderful place to live. Your hosts are Jeff & Dee Holbrook. Let’s tear down the negative hillbilly stereotype that has been assigned to us by the national media. Let’s tell our own story.
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Todays Famous West Virginian is Pearl S. Buck.
Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (June 26, 1892 – March 6, 1973), was an American writer and novelist. As the daughter of missionaries, Buck spent most of her life before 1934 in China. Her novel The Good Earth was the best-selling fiction book in the United States in 1931 and 1932 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. In 1938, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”. She was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
After returning to the United States in 1935, she continued writing prolifically and became a prominent advocate of the rights of women and minority groups, and wrote widely on Asian cultures, becoming particularly well known for her efforts on behalf of Asian and mixed-race adoption.
Pearl Sydenstricker was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, to Caroline Stulting (1857–1921) and Absalom Sydenstricker. Her parents, Southern Presbyterian missionaries, traveled to China soon after their marriage on July 8, 1880, but returned to the United States for Pearl’s birth. When Pearl was five months old, the family arrived in China
for more mission work.
She recalled in her memoir that she lived in “several worlds”, one a “small, white, clean Presbyterian world of my parents”, and the other the “big, loving merry not-too-clean Chinese world”, and there was no communication between them. The Boxer Uprising greatly affected the family; their Chinese friends deserted them, and Western visitors decreased. Her father, convinced that no Chinese could wish him harm, stayed behind as the rest of the family went to Shanghai for safety. A few years later, Pearl was enrolled in Miss Jewell’s School there, and was dismayed at the racist attitudes of the other students, few of whom could speak any Chinese. Both of her parents felt strongly that Chinese were their equals (they forbade the use of the word heathen), and she was raised in a bilingual environment, tutored in English by her mother, in the local dialect by her Chinese playmates, and in classical Chinese by a Chinese scholar named Mr. Kung.
When she won the Nobel Prize for Literature, The committee said,
“By awarding this year’s Prize to Pearl Buck for the notable works which pave the way to a human sympathy passing over widely separated racial boundaries and for the studies of human ideals which are a great and living art of portraiture, the Swedish Academy feels that it acts in harmony and accord with the aim of Alfred Nobel’s dreams for the future.”
She also read voraciously, especially, in spite of her father’s disapproval, the novels of Charles Dickens, which she later said she read through once a year for the rest of her life.
Pearl S. Buck died of lung cancer on March 6, 1973, in Danby, Vermont, and was interred in Green Hills Farm in Perkasie, Pennsylvania. She designed her own tombstone. The grave marker is inscribed with Chinese characters representing the name Pearl Sydenstricker.
Adrian Bay Wright was a Charleston High School standout, played for Virginia Union University, and then was a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After his football career ended in 1987, he got serious and started making barbeque. A quote:
“When it comes to food and football repetition is the key. In football you are learning plays and in the kitchen you are learning food. The taste and quality of the food has to be on point every day, and in football your performance matters. That’s what keeps people coming back to Dem 2 Brothers. My parents were great cooks; I grew up cooking with them. I am the youngest of 10 kids so we were always in the kitchen helping out. It’s a blessing!”
He starts out talking about exposure they received from the Food Network and other sources.
Our featured video today is from the 4 Fayette Media team and is a great story of Bridge Day 2014. Check it out! The link is in the show notes for Episode 9 of the WV Podcast.
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Let’s Tell Our Own Story.