Alumni and Parents Book Discussion

Please join the Washington University Alumni Association and Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement for a thought-provoking group discussion on the universally acclaimed Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Alumni and parents across St. Louis will meet to discuss the book this spring as part of the First Year Reading Program. Participants in the alumni and parents program will read the book and then gather to delve into complex issues and questions raised in the book. In the spirit of civic engagement, these discussions will foster dialogue, learning, and listening which are the foundation of strong communities.

If requested upon registration, you will receive one complimentary book per household after registering for your local discussion. If the event in your community is hosted at a private residence, you will receive the address in your confirmation materials. Space is limited, so register soon! (See below for city-specific registration details.)

The First Year Reading Program

For the past fourteen years, every new undergraduate student has participated in the First Year Reading Program. Students in the incoming class read the annual book selection over the summer and then engage in discussions with their peers and faculty members once they are on campus. The program introduces students to the spirit of inquiry, debate, and engaged citizenship integral to the Washington University academic community.

The Book Selection

coates1The book selected for the Class of 2020 is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In this exceptional and somber work, Coates, acclaimed author and journalist for The Atlantic, speaks through a letter to his son to explore the many—often tragic—experiences of being black in the United States of America.

Coates blends elements of memoir, symbolism, and historical ruminations to convey the fear black parents feel for their children, the fragility of the black body in the face of systemic violence, and the chances of achieving substantive racial progress in the 21st century. Continuing in the seminal style of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Coates challenges the reader to observe the state of race in the US through a skeptical and critical lens, offering up the future as an ominous state of affairs for this generation to struggle with and shape.

Between the World and Me won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

 

Join one of many book discussions around St. Louis to engage in thought-provoking discussion and receive a free copy of the book.

2017 St. Louis Discussion Events

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22
Time: 11:00 am–1:00pm
Host: LuAnn Oros, Coordinator of Civic Engagement Programs, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
Location: Red Chair Studio, 2319 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO 63118

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22
Time: 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Host: Laurie Hiler, EMBA 12
Location: The Hiler Home, Des Peres

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23
Time: 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Host: Cara Johnson, AB ’05, Assistant Director for Student Engagement & Service, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
Location: The Gobberdiel Home, Flora Place in Shaw

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Time: 2:00 pm–4:00 pm
Host: Callaway Zuccarello, MBA ’93 and Michael Zuccarello
Location: The Zuccarello Home, University City

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Time: 3:30 pm–5:30 pm
Host: Henry Warshaw, AB ’76, MBA ’79, and Susan Warshaw, MSW ’79
Location: The Warshaw Home, Richmond Heights

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Time: 4:00 pm–6:00 pm
Host: Stefani Weeden-Smith, Assistant Director for Campus and Community Partnerships, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
Location: The Palomino Lounge, 5876 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63112

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Time: 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Host: Rudolph Clay, Ab ’76, MA ’99, Head of Library Diversity Initiatives & Outreach
Location: Washington University – Alumni House, 6510 Wallace Drive, St. Louis, MO 63105

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Time: 7:30 pm–9:30 pm
Host: Tim Dugan, Coordinator for Student Engagement and Service, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
Location: Gelateria del Leone, 3197 S Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63116

THURSDAY, MARCH 2
Time: 7:00 pm– 9:00 pm
Host: Emily Coen, MSW ’96, and Matt Coen
Location: The Coen Home, Clayton

SATURDAY, MARCH 4
Time: 2:30 pm–4:30 pm
Host: Zach Linneman, AB ’11
Location: Clayton/DeMun

SUNDAY, MARCH 5
Time: 3:00 pm–5:00 pm
Host: Mary Malast, MS ’96, D.Sc ’00
Location: Washington University – Alumni House, 6510 Wallace Drive, St. Louis, MO 63105

SUNDAY, MARCH 5
Time: 2:00 pm–4:00 pm
Host: Masao Nishi, BS ’69, MBA ’74, and Wendy Nishi, BFA ’72
Location: The Nishi Home, Town and Country

SATURDAY, MARCH 11
Time: 2:00 pm–4:00 pm
Host: Harry Moppins, BS ’67, and Carol Moppins, MA ’74
Location: Webster Groves

Prep for your discussion by looking through these questions!