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J.B. Morton 

Senior vice president at BB&T

J.B. Morton is the senior vice president at BB&T, and while his days are filled with international banking and corporate culture, he has not failed his creative side. His debut book, Soul Like a River, speaks of a "passionate spirit" -- one not far from his own.

Soul Like a River is a historical novel about a young man and a small Southern town during the turbulent times of the Civil Rights Movement. This was a time when Martin Luther King Jr. was coming through with a "different mindset that was a threat to the world," in an age of when "dominant culture viewed blacks as a despised minority. I'm thinking, 'What's up with that?'" Morton says.

For Morton, this is a story that hasn't been told yet. "I want to get this out there, these are cultural and social issues that we need to talk about."

He was inspired to learn "so many ordinary people were involved in the Civil Rights Movement. I know my family was deeply impacted. This was the greatest social revolutionary period in the history of America."

"It was a beautiful time," he says. "People knew their neighbors, we had family cohesion." But today things are different. "We've lost a lot [due to] rabid alienation, consumerism and selfishness. There has been a loss of identity; the spiritual qualities of life are lost. Everything is so splintered now. That's the price of progress."

Apart from launching his book, Morton -- who plays jazz piano -- is also working to "get more into music." "I'm a musical person, my writing is lyrical."

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