Oklahoma City University | Book Discussion Series Promotes Civil… Skip to content

Book Discussion Series Promotes Civil Rights

By Rod Jones

The Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma book discussion series at Oklahoma City University will return in September with the theme Civil Rights and Equality: A Pulitzer Prize Centennial Series. The discussions are held in Walker Center room 151, located near the center of campus at N.W. 26th Street and Florida Avenue.

The series is made possible through a grant from Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities with funding from the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative.

The first session will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 with “The Known World” by Edward P. Jones.The well-researched historical novel weaves together different time sequences and family histories as it follows the story of a former slave in early 19th-century Virginia who works to buy his own plantation and his own slaves. The novel shakes up assumptions about the antebellum world and raises important questions about ambition, power, identity, race and property—and the consequences that come with the decisions made in regards to them.

The series theme features five Pulitzer Prize-nominated or -winning books that explore civil rights in an American context, with its unrealized ideals using specific historic or contemporary moments, and with fully realized individuals experiencing inequality. Tracy Floreani, director of the Center for Interpersonal Study through Film & Literature at OCU, says the series will look at events beyond what many consider the Civil Rights movement in U.S. history.

“Our collective imagination calls forth the black-and-white photojournalistic images of brave marchers under attack and the resonating voices of the leaders who led court cases and civil actions throughout the 1950s and ‘60s. But the fundamental notion of civil rights has been built into the value systems of our culture from the beginning,” Floreani said.

At each session in the five-part series, a humanities scholar makes a presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussions follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, all participants come together for a brief wrap-up.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to preregister and borrow the reading selections and theme brochure by calling Floreani at 405-208-5707, emailing her at [email protected] or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library room 211 or 207.

Other dates and books in the series will include:

  • 27, “Native Guard” by Natasha Tretheway
  • 11, “The Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age” by Kevin Boyle
  • 25, “A Plague of Doves” by Louise Erdrich
  • Nov. 1, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity” by Katherine Boo
Back to all news
Back to Top