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James McBride’s Message of the Commonality of Human Experience

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ClassGraphic In this study group we will explore James McBride’s belief that common values can transcend the forces that seemingly divide people by focusing on two of his books: The Color of Water (Riverhead Books 2006) and Heaven & Earth Grocery Store (Riverhead Books, 2023). McBride is an African American author and musician who first gained recognition in 1996 with the publication of The Color of Water, a tribute to his white mother. This book recounts McBride’s family life as one of twelve children of two stable mixed-race marriages growing up in the 1960s and 70s. McBride’s mother was raised in an observant Jewish family - a family and religious life she fled from, but not without incurring emotional trauma and scars. Together we will learn how McBride’s exploration of his mother’s past was also his personal journey of self-discovery. Set in Pottsville, PA in the 1920s and 30s, Heaven & Earth Grocery Store portrays the lives of Jews and African Americans who live as neighbors. We will discuss how each group struggles, collectively and as individuals, to find the way to heal the divisions in its own community and to find community with each other. The book is a New York Times Notable Book of 2023 and Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year.

Class Details

7 Session(s)
Weekly - Wed

Wieboldt Hall

MultipleInstructor :
1.Abe Brustein2.Diane Valencia 



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Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
4/24/2024 - 6/5/2024 Weekly - Wed 09:45 AM - 11:45 AM Chicago, Wieboldt Hall  Map Diane Valencia  ; Abe Brustein 
/*NOV 14 2020*/