Celebrate Juneteenth with Chicago Public Library as we host a city-wide Juneteenth Reading Circle. Participants will discuss Chicago author Richard Wright’s novel The Man Who Lived Underground, and the significance of its release in April 2021, nearly 80 years after it was written. The discussion will also focus on themes around the relationship between police and the communities they serve. Wright is known for his writings on race in the mid-20th century, particularly the memoir Black Boy and the novel Native Son.
The Man Who Lived Underground tells the story of Fred Daniels, a Black man who is picked up by the police after a brutal double murder and tortured until he confesses to a crime he did not commit. After signing a confession, he escapes from custody and flees into the city's sewer system.
This Reading Circle conversation will be facilitated by Ms. Sylvia Ewing, Director of Strategic Communication, Marketing and Outreach at Elevate. Ms. Ewing will be accompanied by a host of prominent scholars from various Chicago Institutions, with a special guest appearance from John Kulka, the Editorial Director of this novel, from the nonprofit publisher, Library of America.
The book talk panelists are Dr. Adam Green, Professor of History, University of Chicago; Ms. Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director, American Library Association; Dr. Garrard McClendon, Associate Professor, Chicago State University; Dr. Mary Pattillo, Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies; Northwestern University; and Mr. Juan Perea, Professor, Loyola School of Law.
CPL is offering this discussion in partnership with the City’s Together We Heal, a journey aimed at building racial healing by encouraging every Chicagoan to do their part to foster racial healing, learning, and restoration in every neighborhood across our City. The initiative seeks to promote civic unity by encouraging Chicagoans to connect across lines of difference and support a collective conversation about our truth and our promise as a City.
The Juneteenth Reading Circle is a spinoff from a monthly program at the Woodson Regional Library on the South Side. The Carter G. Woodson Reading Circle on Social Justice debuted in September of 2020 in order to create a forum for education and growth around social justice matters primarily pertaining to race and disparities, held monthly, on every 3rd Tuesday. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the June 19, 1865 ending of slavery in the United States.
How to Attend:
This event will take place on CPL's YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Can't make it to the live stream? We will archive the video on YouTube and Facebook to watch later as well.