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News Release — April 22, 2010

In Search of the Blues

The Wittliff Collections publish In Search of the Blues:

A Journey to the Soul of Black Texas
by Bill Minutaglio

Minutaglio to read at the Collections on April 27, 2010

SAN MARCOS, Texas—The Wittliff Collections announce the newest volume in the Southwestern Writers Collection Book Series, published by the University of Texas Press, In Search of the Blues: A Journey to the Soul of Black Texas, by Bill Minutaglio. Minutaglio will read and discuss the book at the Collections, located on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library at Texas State University-San Marcos, on April 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be for sale by the University Bookstore.

Reading Bill Minutaglio is like listening to one of the great Texas blues legends. His reporting brings forth stories of suffering and resilience, while at the same time his dazzling writing evokes the brilliantly effusive guitar solos of masters like T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
—Steven L. Davis, Series Editor, Southwestern Writers Collection Book Series from the Wittliff Collections

The rich, complex lives of African Americans in Texas were often neglected by the mainstream media, which historically seldom ventured into Houston's Fourth Ward, San Antonio's East Side, South Dallas, or the black neighborhoods in smaller cities. When Bill Minutaglio began writing for Texas newspapers in the 1970s, few large publications had more than a token number of African American journalists, and they barely acknowledged the things of lasting importance to the African American community. Though hardly the most likely reporter—as a white, Italian American transplant from New York City—for the black Texas beat, Minutaglio was drawn to the African American heritage, seeking its soul in churches, on front porches, at juke joints, and anywhere else that people would allow him into their lives.

Minutaglio's stories offer an understanding of the sweeping evolution of music, race, and justice in Texas. He profiles individuals both unknown and famous, including blues legends Lightnin’ Hopkins, Amos Milburn, Robert Shaw, and Dr. Hepcat. He looks at neglected, even intentionally hidden, communities. And he wades into the musical undercurrent that touches on African Americans’ joys, longings, and frustrations, and the passing of generations. Moved forward by the musical heartbeat of the blues and defined by the long shadow of racism, the stories measure how far Texas has come . . . or still has to go.

Bill Minutaglio is a Clinical Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and a donor to the Wittliff Collections. His books include Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life; First Son: George W. Bush & the Bush Family Dynasty; City on Fire: The Forgotten Disaster that Devastated a Town and Ignited a Landmark Legal Battle; and The President’s Counselor: The Rise to Power of Alberto Gonzales. He has also written for the New York Times, Outside, Encarta, TALK, the Los Angeles Times, Blues & Rhythm, High Fidelity, and many other publications. His website is

In Search of the Blues: A Journey to the Soul of Black Texas is available for purchase through the Wittliff Collections.

Reading by Bill Minutaglio

Tuesday, April 27, 4:00 pm
Alkek Library, Seventh Floor | Texas State University-San Marcos | 512.245.2313
Admission is free and open to the public.