Racial Justice and Inclusiveness Committee
The Friends of Roslindale Branch Library have formed a Racial Justice and Inclusiveness Committee to plan educational events, discussions, and presentations related to race, ethnicity, religion and culture. We also created a special list of books related to these topics.
If you are interested in joining our committee, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedule of Events
Summer Reading Series
We will discuss the real-life story of Anita Hemmings, a Roxbury native and the first black woman to graduate from Vassar College who got caught up in a scandal because she "passed" for white to attend the school. We will explore how she navigated race, gender, class, and identity at the turn of the 20th century. The Friends purchased a limited number of copies of the book for patrons to borrow from Roslindale Library on a first come, first served basis.
The Gilded Years
By Karin Tanabe
Since childhood, Anita Hemmings has longed to attend the country’s most exclusive school for women, Vassar College. Now, a bright, beautiful senior in the class of 1897, she is hiding a secret that would have banned her from admission: Anita is the only African-American student ever to attend Vassar. With her olive complexion and dark hair, this daughter of a janitor and descendant of slaves has successfully passed as white but now finds herself rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families.
Though Anita has kept herself at a distance from her classmates, Lottie’s sphere of influence is inescapable, her energy irresistible, and the two become fast friends. Pulled into her elite world, Anita learns what it’s like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman—the person everyone believes her to be—and even finds herself in a heady romance with a moneyed Harvard student. It’s only when Lottie becomes infatuated with Anita’s brother, Frederick, whose skin is almost as light as his sister’s, that the situation becomes particularly perilous. And as Anita’s college graduation looms, those closest to her will be the ones to dangerously threaten her secret.
Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Gilded Age, an era when old money traditions collided with modern ideas, Tanabe has written an unputdownable and emotionally compelling story of hope, sacrifice, and betrayal—and a gripping account of how one woman dared to risk everything for the chance at a better life.
We will discuss some of the modern nuances of black feminism today, from institutional racism to the politics of black hair. The Friends purchased a limited number of copies of the book for patrons to borrow from Roslindale Library on a first come, first served basis.
You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
By Phoebe Robinson
Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities every day. Comedian Phoebe Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she's been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the black friend," as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she's been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isn’t that . . . white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; she's been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page—and she’s going to make you laugh as she’s doing it.
Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is "Queen. Bae. Jesus," to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, You Can't Touch My Hair examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.
American Moor Special Friends Offer!
O.W.I. (Bureau of Theatre) is offering Friends members a 20 percent discount on tickets for its upcoming production of Keith Hamilton Cobb's American Moor in the Plaza Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts. Funny, ironic and deeply moving, American Moor explores the process of auditioning for the role of Othello. An audition process that invariably ends up with a large black man on stage responding to white middle-aged decision makers who portend to understand how a charismatic, intelligent, black man should react in an alien society.
Tickets can be purchased at American Moor - Boston Theatre Scene. The promo code is FRBL - Promo good for all performances from Thursday, July 20 through Saturday, August 12.
Wednesdays & Thursdays @ 7:30
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8:00
Sundays @ 2:00
Post-show discussion every Sunday & Thursday, beginning Sunday, July 23.
Call For Artists
Artists are invited to participate in a special exhibit at the Roslindale Library in October 2017. The theme of the exhibit is "Getting to know you through our cultures." The cultures of Roslindale come from all over the world. We seek art that gives a visual of some aspect of these cultures and heritage, whether landscape, food, people, transportation, etc.
Deadline to enter is August 31. Email an image of your proposed art piece to email@example.com (subject line: Roslindale Library Exhibit) along with the following information: your name, address, telephone, the title of art, art medium, the size of the art piece, culture it represents and a paragraph about yourself and your culture.
The exhibit will run for a month at the Roslindale Library, 4246 Washington Street, Roslindale, MA. There will be an opening reception on 10/19 and an open house during Open Studios on 10/21. You will be notified when to drop off your art piece.