James Baldwin Book Club

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Program Type: Authors & Book Clubs
Age: Adult
Allowed Ages: 18+ to 18+

The Baldwin Book Club discusses books and films focused on the African American experience in the United States. Meet in person at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center or virtually through Zoom. Sign up to receive the Zoom session link.

January – The Water Dancer Ta’Nehsi Coates Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. 

February – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. An enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams.   

March – The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman. Set during the Harlem Renaissance, this is the story of Emma Lou Morgan, a young black woman with dark skin. From Boise, Idaho to college at USC and a move to Harlem, New York City for work, exploring her experiences with colorism. She learns to come to terms with her skin color in order to find satisfaction in her life. 

April – Surviving the White Gaze by Rebecca Carroll. A “gorgeous and powerful” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir from the cultural critic recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood to forge her identity as a Black woman in America. 

May – The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosley. The author overturns the stereotypes that corral black male characters and paints subtle, powerful portraits of unique individuals. 

Sept. 2022 – Black Bottom Saints by Alice Randall. An enthralling literary tour-de-force that pays tribute to Detroit's legendary neighborhood, a mecca for jazz, sports, and politics; a powerful blend of fact and imagination reminiscent of E.L. Doctorow's classic novel Ragtime.

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