Roger Sharpe

Location: R.A. Fountain

From the November 30, 2016 FAD:

Roger Sharpe will appear at Fountain General Store on Saturday at 4 p.m. to sign copies of his memoir, Ceremony of Innocence, and to discuss the recent elections from the unusual perspective of a defeated Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives.

Sharpe, who lives in Harmony, was defeated by incumbent Virginia Fox in November as a representative of a meandering district that stretches through several counties north and west of Winston-Salem. “We wound up being a 44% minority,” he said, after early polls showed him capturing little more than 20% of the votes, “and the issues we talked about in the rural foothills were the same ones that were on the table for elections all over the country.”

His memoir, published late last year, is now in its 4th printing from Mercer University Press, in Atlanta. In it, he argues for the importance of a humanities-based education as a way to combat religious extremism, which, he feels, threatens the future of the U.S. In memoirist-style, he uses his personal educational development as a casebook example of how such an education is an important tool in the fight against prejudice and racism.

Sharpe was raised on a small tobacco farm in Harmony. He attended N.C. State University in the 1960s, where he was greatly influenced by the teachings of W.W. FInlator, pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, who first challenged his long-held views on race. After completing his undergraduate education at ECU, he studied Christian ethics at Union Theological Seminary School in New York.

One of his instructors, Michael Dukakis, said of Sharpe that he is “a rare human being–courageous, idealistic, and absolutely committed to the proposition that good people, working together, can make a real difference in the lives of their fellow men and women.”

Sharpe has taught in the criminal justice department at ECU and at several other colleges in North Carolina. In addition to serving in the NC Senate, he has worked in Washington, DC as a lobbyist for public education.

Sharpe’s appearance at Fountain General Store on December 2 is his first return to the area since the recent elections, which he is anxious to discuss with anyone interested. “Nationally, I was greatly encouraged,” he said.

Tags: autographing, literary