Saturday’s Roanoke Times editorial, “A reading list for Governor Northam”, featured 11 book recommendations from prominent African-American leaders in the region. As the Governor visits, listens and reads to better understand the historic and present experience of African Americans in the commonwealth, these titles, they say, may help.
Of course there’s a political conversation going on here. But there is also a larger, more important message: it takes work to know ourselves. Only with deeper thought, greater understanding, and a strong commitment will we become a more just society. And that understanding doesn’t come from an advisor’s briefing or a news segment.
Sometimes we have to follow an extended and well-researched argument to overturn conventional wisdom. We have to unlearn what we’ve been taught. We can get out and hear from people who lived the history that still shapes us today. Then, with a great deal of will, we might see issues anew.
Read the editorial to see who recommended what, but know that the New Connections Book Club is about to read one of the recommendations. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein was longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2017 and it was recommended in the editorial by Roanoke School Board Chairwoman Annette Lewis.
The New Connections Book Club will meet on the first three Thursdays in April at 6:30 PM at the Main Library in Roanoke. Get more information on the book club and sign up for updates here.
Come join us, and then take part in the Changing the Narrative series of community listening dinners happening now through November. The next event will be a teen gathering for young people to tell their stories on April 7 at Roanoke College.
Some additional links:
- Richard Rothstein on Fresh Air with Terri Gross
- David Oshinsky’s New York Times Review
- More about the Changing the Narrative project★