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 email@example.com.
Schedule of Events
Featured Poet: Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges
Rozzie Reads Poetry will host a special open mic featuring Danielle Legros Georges reading her own work and members of the Friends will read works by other poets of color. Attendees are also welcome to read a favorite poem by a poet of color as well. Julie Burros, Boston's Chief Arts and Culture Officer, will give a brief introduction.
Danielle Legros Georges is a professor in the Creative Arts and Learning Division at Lesley University. Her areas of academic interest include arts and education, contemporary American poetry, African-American poetry, Caribbean literature and studies, and literary translation. A writer and poet, Legros Georges has been widely recognized a variety of recognition for her work with and recent literary awards such as the 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Poetry; the 2012 Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist in Poetry; Lesley University Faculty Development Grants; and a 2013 Black Metropolis Research Consortium Fellowship/Andrew W. Mellon Grant.
We are co-sponsoring the viewing of Ava DuVernay's documentary, 13th, with the Resilience and Resistance Film Series. This thought-provoking documentary features scholars, activists, and politicians who discuss the criminalization of African Americans and the US prison system.
Directed By Ava DuVernay
The film explores the "intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States;" it is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which freed the slaves and prohibited slavery (unless as punishment for a crime).
DuVernay's documentary opens with the facts that today the US has 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the people in the world who are incarcerated. She demonstrates that slavery has been perpetuated in practices since the end of the American Civil War through such actions as criminalizing behavior and enabling police to arrest poor freedmen and force them to work for the state under convict leasing; suppression of African Americans by disenfranchisement, lynchings and Jim Crow; conservative Republicans declaring a war on drugs that weighed more heavily on minority communities and, by the late 20th century, mass incarceration of people of color in the United States. She examines the prison-industrial complex and the emerging detention industrial complex, demonstrating how much money is being made by corporations from such incarceration.
13th has garnered acclaim from film critics and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Oscars.
Summer Reading Series
Book Discussion: Redefining Realness
Thursday, June 22, 6:30 pm
We will have a discussion about author Janet Mock's life experience and the current climate for the transgender community. The Library will soon have copies of this book for patrons to borrow.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
By Janet Mock
In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.
With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.
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 Library will soon have copies of this book for patrons to borrow.
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 Library will soon have copies of this book for patrons to borrow.
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.