Born and Raised in Sawdust is the deeply moving autobiography of Lewis Thigpen as a black boy growing up in a loving family in a small, tight knit community in the deep South during the extremely segregated Jim Crow era. It captures his life on the farm and in school in a revealing, instructive, yet colorful way despite the discrimination, he encountered.
Fearful of being a farm worker or common laborer for the rest of his life, he joined the U.S. Army, where racism persisted even though President Truman had ordered desegregation of the entire military in 1948. He served for three years.
Against the odds, Thigpen persevered. Despite adversity and lack of money, he attended college, earned the Ph.D. degree, and became a renowned engineer, research scientist, and scholar. He rose to become chair of mechanical engineering at a distinguished university.