Appalachian State professor Rob Lee has received a book deal with Penguin Random House with plans to release the book in early 2019.
According to Lee’s publicist, the book, which Lee has given the working title of “A Sin by Any Other Name: A Love Letter to the South,” is a memoir covering his life leading up to his current activism.
Lee said he describes this memoir, which includes his decision as a teenager to take down a Confederate flag from his bedroom, as a memoir on a mission.
“This is a personal story of transformation,” Lee said, which was started by “a strong woman of color.”
Lee said that the book is “an opportunity to talk to white folk about issues of white supremacy and white privilege,” and that these issues are the “original sin” of America.
Lee, a descendant of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, came under fire earlier this year after speaking out against white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
When discussing the backlash from his speech, Lee said that he had recently left his job at a church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and that he has lost friends and colleagues who did not want to be involved in the conflict.
Lee has been teaching with App State’s departments of communication and religious studies for the past semester. Lee said that the support system from university and its students have been encouraging him to pursue conversations about white nationalism.
Lee, a graduate of Appalachian with a degree in religious studies, said he has loved coming back and teaching at the university. Lee also earned his master’s in theological studies from Duke University Divinity School earlier this year.
“We need new, fresh blood in this conversation, and we need white people to stand up and say that they can transform as well,” Lee said. “Millennials have a special place in my heart, they’re asking good questions, questions on issues of race, class and LGBTQ rights; questions not only of me, but of the current generation and administration.”
Lee said that he believes these conversations and issues of race must be addressed “for the sake of our nation and for the sake of our future.”
Story by Aidan Moyer, News Reporter