Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
First Conversation: Friday, September 16, at noon, at The Davis, 94 W. Broadway
At the invitation of the University of Oregon, the City Club board has adopted for the Club a common reading, “Between the World and Me,” a national book award winner written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is written as a letter from a black man to his son. All incoming UO freshmen have been given a copy of this book at orientation. Many of the courses they take will build on the themes of this reading, unpacking the text in various ways, according to the focus of the course and the interests of the students and their teachers.
Members of City Club’s Emerging Leaders and Minority Outreach Committee were delighted with this invitation, because it gives just the opportunity some of us relish to talk about hard stuff in the company of other seekers of wisdom and truth. We have been told that we might be able to meet with younger seekers during some of their class discussions and invited to Coates’ presentation in February. Note that this year’s incoming freshman class is 1/3 minority, not counting international students. The gift of diversity is a wonderful addition to the many intellectual and economic benefits we get as a “college town.”
We will be working on plans for our own gatherings related to the book. The initial meeting on September 16 is planned as a very informal encounter, to begin to discuss the issues and ask the questions raised by the author. We hope you will read it, and then share your ideas about how you’d enjoy connecting with students and faculty and each other in formal or informal ways. The Eugene Public Library has acquired LOTS of copies in hardcover and electronic formats, to support this shared experience, and local bookstores sell it.
We will gather in the side room of The Davis restaurant at noon. Food and beverages will be available for sale, but no purchase is required to participate in this discussion.
This particular book seems toa great jumping off place for candid conversations about race—a central concern for all of us right now. Whether you love the book or not, reading it in a conscious effort to meet with new folks on shared ground is an experience we suspect you will ultimately enjoy.