Welcome to One Book Louisville

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We are officially kicking off One Book Louisville!  One Book Louisville is my brain child.  I read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and I wanted to share it.  I called Jim Blanton, the Director of the Louisville Free Public Library and asked him to partner with me.   Others heard we were doing it and they wanted in.   I called my friends and begged them to read this book.  I asked my board to please read the book.  This book is for everybody.  Isabel Wilkerson educates, moves, inspires and explains America.  She doesn’t make excuses, nor does she place blame.  She simply tells the stories of real people.  People you will come to love, admire, respect, and  want to help.

 The Warmth of Other Suns is about the migration of blacks from the south to the north.  It explains the period when slavery ends and Jim Crow laws rule the south and force blacks to pick up and leave the south in order to find opportunity and work in the promised land of northern cities.   Isabel Wilkerson does a masterful job of walking us through the transitions that take place.   This book took 15 years to write and when you read it you understand why.  The people you learn about become your family.  It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, you just want them to be ok.

You will ask yourself, what kind of strength did it take for Lil George Starling to pack himself into the Jim Crow car, where the luggage was stored, and hear the whistle of the train as it rolled away from his family and everything he had known?  Or how about Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, who watched his father’s dreams die and then had to leave his family in order to have the opportunity that being a doctor should have afforded any man anywhere?  I silently prayed as I read about him traveling alone on deserted stretches of road with no rest or reprieve because the hotels would not accept his kind.  Imagine having the money to pay for a room, but no one even willing to take your money.  Why didn’t he break?  Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, was the personal physician of Ray Charles.  He was the son-in-law of Rufus Early Clement, the first Dean of Simmons College (located right here in Louisville) and also the President of Atlanta University.  You will understand why Ida Mae thought it best to leave Chicago and return to Mississippi to give birth to her unborn child.  The pressure of simply existing will exhaust you.  Trust me, if you do nothing else. . . Read this ONE BOOK LOUISVILLE!

Should I have come here?
But going back was
Impossible. . .
Wherever my eyes turned,
They saw stricken,
Frightened black faces
Trying vainly to cope
With a civilization
That they did not understand,
I felt lonely.
I had fled one insecurity and embraced another.
—–Richard Wright, Black Boy

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Sadiqa N. Reynolds, President & CEO Louisville Urban League