Poverty, Race, and Rural Sanitation


Catherine Coleman Flowers, activist, author, founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, and MacArthur “genius prize” winner, talks about her book Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret with Peoples & Things host Lee Vinsel. Waste examines the brutal realities of rural sanitation issues, particularly the lack of septic tanks, and how they affect poor, often black, people. Flowers also reflects on growing up in Lowndes County, Alabama and how her family, the Civil Rights Movement, and her faith life led her to be the leader she is today.

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Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.

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