BOOK CORNER: From Jim Crow era to doctor, author describes his journey

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By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer

“Are You a N*****r or a Doctor?” is a new memoir by Dr. Otto Stallworth Jr. that chronicles his journey as a Black man who was a child during the 1940s and 1950s, a period when Jim Crow laws were a part of daily life. 

In the book, Stallworth shares candid stories about his childhood, grade school, higher education, residency and ultimately his career as an anesthesiologist. 

Stallworth was inspired to write a book as a result of his involvement in a writer’s group that he joined following retirement. The group’s assignment was to write a memoir and as he wrote, he realized there was a lot he wanted to share.

“The stories have shocked and surprised many people who have known me for years because they never knew most of the events I wrote about,” Stallworth said. “Many assumed my father was a doctor, or I came from a highly educated family and had an easy path.”

The book consists of 45 chapters and each chapter addresses a story from Stallworth’s life. Some stories concern his upbringing in Beatrice, Alabama, the Jim Crow conditions he faced as he navigated adolescence, seeking higher education and more.

Stallworth’s stories will send readers on a roller coaster of emotions as it offers insight into who he is.

“I am hoping my children and my grandchildren get to know me and maybe learn by reading my mistakes, of the things that I should not have done, and learn of the things I did well,” said the author. “In writing this and in conversations with many readers of the memoir, they often relate very similar experiences they have had, which made me realize everyone has a story, interesting stories, but haven’t put it on a page.”

“Are You a N*****r or a Doctor?” is intended for a universal audience of readers and will no doubt prove to be inspiring.

“I think it shows that against insurmountable odds, you can achieve if you have the will power, drive and determination,” Stallworth said.

Stallworth is based in Los Angeles. For more information about the author and his work, visit 

“Are You a N*****r or a Doctor?” is available for $19.95 (paperback) and $9.99 (eBook) via Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and more booksellers.

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