Edmonds CC Community Read explores American history through a black father’s letter to his son

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Edmonds CC’s 11th annual Community Read is “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Constitution of the United States. The Common Theme for the 2017-18 academic year is “The World We Want.”

The all-campus Community Read event and Common Theme provide a year-long opportunity for all members of our college community to become engaged in examining issues of social importance through reading, sharing, and discussing the same book.

“Between the World and Me” was chosen two years ago by the campus community from among several titles proposed by the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. It is a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son. In his book, Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding the nation’s history and current crisis.

He proposes that Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a false hood that damages everyone but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men –– bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion.

In “Between the World and Me,” Coates shares with his son – and readers – the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder.

“Between the World and Me” is a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller, National Book Award Winner, NAACP Image Award Winner, Pulitzer Prize Finalist, National Book Critics Award Finalist, and was named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review. Ta-Nehisi is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He has also written Marvel’s “The Black Panther” comic book since 2016.

The U.S. Constitution, which established America’s national government and fundamental laws,  has been chosen as this year’s supplemental reading, giving readers an opportunity to compare and contrast Coates’ book as it addresses the fundamental definition “… of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Co-curricular events, including debates, workshops, lectures, presentations, films, discussions, artist presentations, college service-learning projects, and other programming, will be held throughout the year to expand and deepen readers’ understanding of both the Common Theme and Community Read.

A limited number of free copies of “Between the World and Me” and the U.S. Constitution are available at the Edmonds CC Bookstore, Diversity Student Center, Library, Black Box Theatre, and the Equity and Inclusion department. An Edmonds CC Library guide to the book is available at bit.ly/2x1uv1X.

Copies are also available to be checked out with a valid EdPass for one week in the college Library on the third floor of Lynnwood Hall.

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