Libraries explore themes in novel ‘Homegoing’

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Champaign County’s library systems will participate in a virtual program rooted in Tipp City.

The Tipp City Public Library has been selected as one of 300 libraries to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities.

Project partners include the Tipp City Public Library, Tipp City Exempted Village Schools, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Triad High School, St. Paris Public Library, Champaign County Library and the Mechanicsburg Public Library.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help explore themes in the novel Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. There will be three online conversations on Zoom and one in-person event. The author, Gyasi, will take part in a fourth conversation on Oct. 15 in the Center for the Performing Arts at Tippecanoe High School.

Session 1 will take place on Aug. 4 from 6:30-8 p.m. on Zoom; Foundations of U.S. Slavery: Rationalizations and Intergenerational Impact.

In this session, participants will explore the foundations of the US Slave Trade within the context of Homegoing. Beginning in West Africa in the late 1700s, the book examines the Mid-Atlantic slave trade and foundations of racial hierarchies in the U.S. We’ll discuss the foundations of slavery in the U.S., including the rationalizations and intergenerational impact.

Session 2 will take place on Aug. 25 from 6:30-8 p.m. on Zoom; Beyond Victim and Oppressor: Complicity and Agency in Racism.

In this session, participants will explore the role of complicity, resistance and agency in Homegoing. This session focuses on the intergenerational psychological, economic, legal and social impact of slavery on Americans. Slavery and legal segregation are often simplified as “victims” and “oppressors” (or the “good guys”& “bad guys”), yet Gyasi shares the complexities and nuances of racial hierarchies. We’ll explore the role of power among people who are oppressed.

Session 3 will take place on Sept. 15 from 6:30-8 p.m. on Zoom; Moving Forward Towards U.S. Racial Reconciliation.

In this session, participants will explore the current U.S. climate of racial reckoning and the individual and community steps we can take to move us forward toward racial reconciliation. Examine systemic barriers discussed in Homegoing that might influence potential actions and change.

Co-facilitators, Tiffany Taylor Smith, Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and Dr. Leslie Picca, Professor of Sociology and Endowed Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences, will join Drew Wichterman, Adult Services Librarians with Tipp City Public Library, in leading these conversations. Both women are from the University of Dayton.

Registration is required to attend each conversation. Information on how to register can be found on the Facebook page of your local library or by calling for more information.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

Submitted story

Information from Nicole Baker

Information from Nicole Baker