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September 15, 2022   |   7:00 - 8:00 PM

The Rose that Grew From Concrete

By Tupac Shakur

    A collection of poetry written by the rapper between 1989 and 1991, before he became famous. The poems are passionate, sometimes angry, and often compelling. Selections are reproduced from the originals in Shakur's handwriting, personalized by distinctive spelling and the use of ideographs (a drawing of an eye for I, etc.), and complete with scratch outs and corrections. With the exception of "In the Event of My Demise," all of the pieces are accompanied by typed text, which leaves his spelling intact. Some poems are also accompanied by his drawings. A few black-and-white photographs appear throughout. A preface by Shakur's mother, a foreword by Nikki Giovanni, and an introduction by his manager, Leila Steinburg, in whose writing group the poems were written, complete this unique volume.

October 13 , 2022   |   7:00 - 8:00 PM

Fight the Power: Law and Policy through Hip-Hop Songs

By Gregory Parker & Frank Cooper

    Taking inspiration from Public Enemy's lead vocalist Chuck D - who once declared that 'rap is the CNN of young Black America' - this volume brings together leading legal commentators to make sense of some of the most pressing law and policy issues in the context of hip-hop music and the ongoing struggle for Black equality. Contributors include MSNBC commentator Paul Butler, who grapples with race and policing through the lens of N.W.A.'s song 'Fuck tha Police', ACLU President Deborah Archer, who considers the 2014 uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri, and many other prominent scholars who speak of poverty, LGBTQ+ rights, mass incarceration, and other crucial topics of the day. Written to 'say it plain', this collection will be valuable not only to students and scholars of law, African-American studies, and hip-hop, but also to everyone who cares about creating a more just society.

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November 3, 2022   |   7:00 - 8:00 PM

On Juneteenth

By Annette Gordon-Reed

      Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, this novel provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to June 19, 1865, in Galveston Texas when Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in the state. Reworking the traditional “Alamo” framework, she powerfully demonstrates, among other things, that the slave- and race-based economy not only defined the fractious era of Texas independence but precipitated the Mexican-American War and, indeed, the Civil War itself. In its concision, eloquence, and clear presentation of history, On Juneteenth vitally revises conventional renderings of Texas and national history. As our nation recently recognized June 19 as a national holiday, On Juneteenth is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing.

February 9, 2023   |   7:00 - 8:00 PM

Skinny House: A Memoir of Family

By Julie L. Seely

     Skinny House: A Memoir of Family is a true story of perseverance in the face of ruin and a glimpse into the past of the inventive, remarkable people who gracefully ‘made it’ despite overwhelming societal and financial hurdles. It is a granddaughter’s story about the grandfather she never met. The author weaves the legacy of Nathan Seely—an ambitious carpenter who establishes a company in 1923 for the purpose of “building homes for colored people” taking part in The Great Migration. Nathan is well on his way to becoming a successful entrepreneur. He has everything a man could want…a beautiful wife, smart children and a custom-built house in the Village of Mamaroneck, along the picturesque Long Island Sound. Nathan’s success is short lived when the Depression of 1929 leaves him bankrupt and threatens to make his family homeless. Desperate to keep his family together, Nathan has to rebuild his life, literally, brick by brick. The skinny house he built still stands in Mamaroneck. The impact of this family memoir forces readers to consider questions of their only family and legacy. What do we really know about the dreams and aspirations of our ancestors? How do the decisions our grandparents and parents made generations ago, influence our lives today? In telling her own family story, Seely has managed to capture so many of our family histories in ways that challenge readers to insightful reflection.

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March 9, 2023   |   7:00 - 8:00 PM

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of Colorblindness

By Michelle Alexander

     Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads. It has received numerous prestigious literary and cultural awards, and has inspired a new generation of criminal justice reformists and abolitionists to challenge the status quo of a criminal system that disproportionately impacts the African American community.  As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is "undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S." This Tenth Anniversary edition features a new preface by Michelle Alexander that discusses the impact the book has had and the state of the criminal justice reform movement today.

April 13, 2023  |   7:00 - 8:00 PM

Black Panther: Vol. 1 (2005)

By Reginald Hundlin

       Explore the incredible lore of where the billion-dollar blockbuster cultural phenomenon of Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) drew from in this iconic book. Hollywood heavyweight Reginald Hudlin takes on the Black Panther with the iconic visual style of artist John Romita Jr. Together, they go back to the beginning to present T'Challa's origin in cinematic scope. Who is the Black Panther and what is the secret history of Wakanda? Social satire meets comic book action as T'Challa's adventures in Wakanda and beyond bring him in contact with the Marvel Universe, such as the X-Men, Luke Cage, Blade, and Monica Rambeau. Hudlin’s vision of the character and of Wakanda explore societal themes of African nationalism as well as European imperialism, but also tells a deeply personal story of becoming a hero, overcoming feelings of revenge, and of love. There are enough story arcs and beautiful artwork to give everyone something to talk about!

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2021-2022 Reads & Featured Speakers

Michael Eric Dyson
presents

JAY-Z: Made in America

 Thursday, September 2, 2021 

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Isabel Wilkerson presents
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

 Thursday, October 7, 2021 

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Gregory S. Parks presents
A Pledge With Purpose:Black Sororities and Fraternities and the Fight for Equality

 Thursday, November 4, 2021 

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Ibram X. Kendi
presents
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

 Wednesday, February 2, 2022

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The City We Became

by

N.K. Jemisin

 Thursday, March 10, 2022

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Invisible Man



by
Ralph Ellison

 Thursday, April 21, 2022

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2020-2021 Reads

The Rage of a Privileged Class: Why Are Middle-Class Blacks Angry? Why Should America Care?
by
Ellis Cose

 Friday, October 2, 2020

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The Water Dancer: A Novel


by
Ta-Nehisi Coates

 Friday, November 6, 2020

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The Oxford Anthology of African- American Poetry

edited by
Arnold Rampersad & Hilary Herbold

 Friday, January 8, 2021

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The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.
by
Chancellor Williams

 Friday, February 5, 2021

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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents


by
Isabel Wilkerson

 Friday, March 5, 2021

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Predatory Lending and the Destruction of the African-American Dream
by
Janis Sarra & Cheryl L. Wade

 Friday, April 2, 2021

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