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Nathan McCall

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Information about Nathan McCall

Profile image of Nathan McCall

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Journalist
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Scallops, shrimp
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong

Birthplace

Born:
11/25/1954
Birth Location:
Norfolk, Virginia

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Journalist
Author

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Scallops, shrimp
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong

Birthplace

Born:
11/25/1954
Birth Location:
Norfolk
See how Nathan McCall is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist and author Nathan McCall was born on November 25, 1954 in Norfolk, Virginia to Lenora and J.L. McCall. After his parents divorced, he was raised by his mother and his stepfather, Bonnie Alvin. He graduated from Manor High School in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1973, and began attending college, but his participation in an armed robbery resulted in him being sent to prison for three years. After he was released, he began to turn his life around. His passion for writing led him to pursue a career in journalism, and he received his B.A. degree in journalism from Norfolk State University in 1981.

McCall’s first job as a reporter was for the The Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star in Norfolk, Virginia. He also worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before landing a job at The Washington Post in 1989. In 1994, McCall published his autobiography, Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America, which chronicled his journey from troubled youth to successful journalist. This was followed by a book of essays on race relations, What’s Going On, in 1997, and his first novel, Them, in 2007. In addition to writing, McCall also serves as a senior lecturer in the African American Studies Department at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

McCall’s books have been the recipients of numerous awards and honors: Makes Me Wanna Holler was a New York Times bestseller and named the Blackboard Book of the Year for 1995. Them reached number one on the Essence magazine bestseller list and was one of Publishers Weekly’s best books of 2007. In addition, the novel was a finalist for the 2008 Townsend Prize for Fiction, a nominee for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and a finalist for the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction.

McCall has three children: Monroe, Ian, and Maya. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife.

Nathan McCall was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 19, 2014.

See how Nathan McCall is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathan McCall's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathan McCall lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathan McCall talks about his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathan McCall talks about his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathan McCall talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathan McCall talks about his biological father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathan McCall talks about his stepfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathan McCall talks about his stepfather's career in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathan McCall recalls a time his biological father failed to pick him and his siblings up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nathan McCall talks about his older brothers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nathan McCall talks about his relationship to his stepfather and how he takes after his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nathan McCall recalls his earliest childhood memory in Morocco
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathan McCall recalls living in Morocco as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathan McCall describes the political climate in Key West, Florida in the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathan McCall describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Morocco and Key West, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathan McCall talks about his religious upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathan McCall describes his experience at Douglass High School in Key West, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathan McCall recalls the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathan McCall describes his childhood interests and aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathan McCall recalls his childhood teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nathan McCall recalls growing up with four brothers and being disciplined by his stepfather
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Nathan McCall describes Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Nathan McCall recalls integrating Alford J. Mapp Junior High School in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1966
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathan McCall recalls being met with violence after integrating Alford J. Mapp Junior High School in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathan McCall recalls being terrorized by white students at Alford J. Mapp Junior High School in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathan McCall talks about his neighborhood, Cavalier Manor, in Portsmouth, Virginia,
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathan McCall recalls his favorite teacher at W.E. Waters Middle School in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathan McCall talks about television and literature he was exposed to as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathan McCall talks about his best friend, Shellshock
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathan McCall describes his personal transformation during junior high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nathan McCall describes his sixth grade personality and social life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Nathan McCall describes forming a middle school street crew
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathan McCall describes his interactions with different crews around Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathan McCall describes his style and what he listened to as a junior high school student in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathan McCall talks about the direction his life took after junior high school as described in his book 'Makes Me Wanna Holler'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathan McCall describes his family life during his high school years
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathan McCall explains why he began carrying a gun in high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathan McCall talks about seeking revenge on white teenagers that terrorized him
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathan McCall recalls working with his stepfather as a gardener
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathan McCall talks about staying in school as all of his friends dropped out
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nathan McCall describes committing armed robberies as a teenager, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nathan McCall describes committing armed robberies as a teenager, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathan McCall describes his high school "bad boy" routine and surviving a drive-by and shootout
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathan McCall describes the influence of 'Super Fly'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathan McCall talks about selling marijuana
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathan McCall explains transferring to Manor High School in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathan McCall recalls being arrested at seventeen
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathan McCall talks about applying to colleges
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathan McCall talks about his high school girlfriend and her pregnancy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nathan McCall recalls shooting someone who had been disrespectful to his girlfriend
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Nathan McCall recalls turning himself in after shooting someone and being sentenced to serve time on weekends
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathan McCall describes his mental state while engaging in crime at twenty years old
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathan McCall talks about robbing a McDonald's at twenty years old
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathan McCall talks about his arrest and sentencing after robbing a McDonald's, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathan McCall talks about his arrest and sentencing after robbing a McDonald's, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathan McCall talks about professors who saw potential in him at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathan McCall talks about being sentenced to twelve years in prison