OLIVER W. HILL BOOK CLUB: THE ORGAN THIEVES by CHIP JONES
Meet the Author virtually at our second meeting of the Oliver W. Hill Book Club when we will discuss Chip Jones’ book The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South.
The Richmond Public Law Library’s Oliver W. Hill Book Club, is named in honor of Oliver W. Hill (1907–2007), a Richmond African American attorney and civil rights activist. His efforts, along with others, resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional. The bi-monthly virtual Oliver W. Hill Book Club invites readers to explore various books dealing with the law, civil rights, and social justice in America.
The publisher described the book The Organ Thieves this way:
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks meets Get Out in this landmark investigation of racial inequality at the core of the heart transplant race.
“In 1968, Bruce Tucker, a black man, went into Virginia’s top research hospital with a head injury, only to have his heart taken out of his body and put into the chest of a white businessman. Now, in The Organ Thieves, Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist Chip Jones exposes the horrifying inequality surrounding Tucker’s death and how he was used as a human guinea pig without his family’s permission or knowledge. The circumstances surrounding his death reflect the long legacy of mistreating African Americans that began more than a century before with cadaver harvesting and worse. It culminated in efforts to win the heart transplant race in the late 1960s.
“Featuring years of research and fresh reporting, The Organ Thieves is a story that resonates now more than ever, when issues of race and healthcare are the stuff of headlines and horror stories.
“Chip Jones has been reporting for nearly thirty years for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Roanoke Times, Virginia Business magazine, and others. As a reporter for The Roanoke Times, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Pittston coal strike. He is the former communications director of the Richmond Academy of Medicine, which is where he first discovered the heart stopping story in The Organ Thieves.”
We are greatly honored to welcome the author, Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist Chip Jones, to be part of the discussion!
Meldon Jenkins-Jones is the Richmond Public Library / Community Services Manager at Hull Street Branch Library.
Meldon also chairs the Get Lit Advisory Committee which supports the Richmond Public Library Get Lit Reading Initiatives including the Black Male Emergent Readers (BMER) program and the Lit Chicks Read book clubs.
Meldon is a graduate of the Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2022. She was the first recipient of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) Librarians of Color Forum Award in 2021 and is an active member of VLA. She presented “Libraries Bringing Community Together” at the 2023 VLA Annual Conference.
In 2011, Meldon received her Master of Library and Information Studies from Florida State University. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law—Newark and practiced law in New Jersey until her retirement in 2003. Meldon received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she studied African American Studies and Russian Civilization.
A Metro Richmond resident, Meldon is the mother of two adult children and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.