Homegoing: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi | Washtenaw Reads 2018 Author Event

Tuesday February 6, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Rackham Auditorium, 915 E Washington St

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

2018 Institute for the Humanities Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture

The Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan will host a conversation with Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing (2016), the 2018 selection for Washtenaw Reads.

Homegoing tells the stories of two West African half-sisters and their descendants. One sister, Esi, is captured and brought to the Americas as a slave; the other sister, Effia, stays in Africa and marries a British slaver. Over the course of seven generations, Gyasi illuminates the legacies of slavery and the wide spectrum of colonial African and African-American experiences.

Each of the novel's fourteen chapters centers on the life of a person descended from Effia or Esi. Through these stories, Gyasi narrates their every day lives, as well as their roles in major historical events. The novel begins in the late eighteenth century and ends in the present day, so that by the end we feel the full weight of history behind her characters.

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and came to the United States as a child. She is a graduate of Stanford and received her Masters of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers Workshop. In 2016, she was chosen for the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" award. Homegoing, her debut novel, has been nominated for the several awards and won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 2017.

About Jill S. Harris: The Jill S. Harris Memorial Endowment was established in 1985 in memory of Jill Harris, a resident of Chicago and undergraduate student at U-M who passed away due to injuries from an auto accident. Established by Roger and Meredith Harris, Jill’s parents, her grandparents Allan and Norma Harris, and friends, the fund brings a distinguished visitor to campus each year who will appeal to undergraduate students interested in the humanities and the arts.

This event is part of the 2018 Washtenaw Read. The Washtenaw Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Participating libraries include Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti. For more information about Washtenaw Reads and previous years' reads, go to wread.org.

West African Art and Music in Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, with Victoria Shields

Tuesday February 20, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

Attend an interactive workshop for music and art lovers with discussion of the 2018 Washtenaw Read, Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. Drawing from the African American Cultural Humanities (AC) curriculum, Ms Shields examines the social and historical contexts presented in Homegoing using music and pieces from the Detroit Institute of Art collection. Participants will leave with a better understanding of the influence of West Africa on American music styles.

Victoria Shields is a doctoral student in the Eastern Michigan University Urban Education program focusing on curriculum development and programming. She conducts teacher training at state and national conferences and focuses on the development of Humanities and Social Science curriculum with the integration of music, dance and pieces from the Detroit Institute of Art collection.

This event is part of the 2018 Washtenaw Read.

Martin Luther King, Jr's Thoughts on Militarism | A Conversation with Veterans for Peace

Tuesday January 16, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

Should we have a military mainly for defense, or should we use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests? Before Dr. King’s tragic death, he spoke out more and more against government use of military over diplomacy and the use of armed forces in the routine policy of the state. For such actions, Dr. King was criticized heavily and to this day his thoughts on war still make people uncomfortable.

Veterans For Peace will discuss Dr. King's speeches relating to defense versus militarism, showing that they are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.

African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County Living Oral History

Now through April 27, 2017 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

Find out more about our community’s history as the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County unveils their “Living History” exhibit.

This panel exhibition is part of a collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library and the Living Oral History Project, a collection of interviews illustrating what local African-Americans witnessed, experienced, and contributed to building the community we share today.

The project covered such topics as race; gender; education; equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and social infrastructure. Each topic provided a spectrum of perspectives relevant to the issues and concerns of the African-American community in the history of 20th century Washtenaw County.

The panel exhibit, made possible with funding from The Michigan Humanities Council, features a selection of AACHM participants from the AACHM Living Oral History interviews along with additional interviews that will include residents from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

A public reception for the exhibit opening will take place from 3–5 pm on Sunday, March 26. The reception will also be an opportunity for a participatory experience for visitors through examination of the exhibit and sharing stories. The event includes refreshments and is cosponsored by the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County.

"Keep On Keepin' On" Jazz Trumpeter/Educator Clark Terry

Lovers of jazz and people who rise above adversity to challenge the status quo will find great pleasure in the documentary Keep On Keepin’ On, about the friendship of trumpeter Clark Terry (1920-2015) with jazz superstar Quincy Jones and the young piano prodigy, Justin Kauflin. Kauflin is blind and Clark Terry is losing his sight due to lifelong complications from diabetes. The film depicts Terry’s early days growing up poor in St. Louis, where he fashioned his first horn out of old tubing and pipe he found. Then it covers his early career with the Count Basie and Duke Ellington orchestras, followed by years playing with other jazz luminaries. He became the first African-American to play with the NBC Tonight Show Band (1962-72) and eventually played on over 900 recordings! But just as important to him was his time spent educating budding musicians, including the young Quincy Jones (his first student) and Justin Kauflin (his last student), which forms the main thread of this fascinating film.

Film and Discussion: "Let's Have Some Church Detroit Style: The Hallelujah Singers"

Monday September 28, 2015: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

"Let's Have Some Church Detroit Style: The Hallelujah Singers" is a 92 minute documentary from director Andrew Sacks focuses on the Detroit-based choir The Hallelujah Singers, and its charismatic founder/director E. LaQuint Weaver.

Filled with dazzling visuals and glorious gospel music, the film explores the personal lives and aspirations of the gifted men and women of this Detroit community gospel choir, who energize a troubled city with spirited, passionate, and contemporary music.

A discussion will follow the screening, led by the film’s director Andrew Sacks and former WDET music host Rev. Robert Jones, Sr., who narrates and also appears in the film.

The African-American Cultural & Historical Museum Of Washtenaw County Living Oral History Project

Sunday September 28, 2014: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

Join the AADL and the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County for this premiere of their Phase II of the Living Oral History Project. The African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County began this project in March 2013 in collaboration with AADL. This second phase was filmed in May 2014,

Five individuals were identified to initiate the project by participating in a series of interviews that were professionally filmed and edited. These interviews serve as a roadmap to what African Americans witnessed, experienced, shared, and contributed in building the community we see today. Those interviewed for the second phase include John Barfield, Sr., Tessie Freeman, Barbara Meadows, Paul Wasson, and Dorothy Wilson. A short program and an opportunity to speak with those interviewed will follow the premiere.

The individuals selected represent a broad section in gender, education, faith, and socioeconomics. Areas of community concern such as race, gender and education equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and infrastructure were presented and discussed. These topics provide a spectrum that is relevant to current issues and concerns within Washtenaw County today and into the future.

This premiere of this second phase of the Living Oral History Project will include a short program and an opportunity to speak with those interviewed. Light refreshments will also be served.

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