Black Americans have a unique identity that is movingly illustrated and celebrated in literature. In this course, we will take a year to read, examine, and discuss some of the seminal books written by Black authors that deal with the inescapability of history, the intersection of race and gender, and the difficulty of cultural assimilation. By spending time with these important and accomplished books, we will learn a great deal about the august Black literary tradition and how literature has functioned as a tool for revelation, connection, and progress for the Black community and American society at large.
This class takes place online via Zoom. Register to receive the zoom link and class instructions.
NOTE: You can register for just the first session, or receive a discount by committing to the full year.
Jan 8: Kindred by Octavia Butler
Feb 12: The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley
Mar 12: Beloved by Toni Morrison
Apr 9: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
May 14: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
June 11: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
July 9: Meridian by Alice Walker
August 13: Caucasia by Danzy Senna
September 10 & October 8: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
November 12: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
December 10: Erasure by Percival Everett
Reader series classes provide in-depth analysis and discussion of contemporary literature at community-friendly prices and times, taking you on a deep dive into specific topic or author to gain a more advanced understanding of literature and the world. Experienced instructors will provide history, context, and analysis, and guide in-depth discussion that will help make you an expert in a single subject or author’s body of work.
For the best experience in this class, read each book before the assigned meeting. However, you are more than welcome to attend the session even if you have not finished it. No matter your level of prior knowledge, you will receive a wealth of materials and insights in a condensed period, like a masterclass or a great course, only right here in Cleveland.
Want to attend this class but price is an issue? No problem! Just email email@example.com and we can add you to the registration list for free! Support has been provided by Ohio Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Michelle R. Smith is a writer, educator, cultural facilitator, and native Clevelander. She is the author of the poetry collections Ariel in Black (2015) and The Vagina Analogues (2020), and the creator of BLAX MUSEUM, an annual performance showcase dedicated to honoring notable black figures in American history and culture. Michelle’s favorite writers include Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Sylvia Plath, Terrance Hayes, and Saeed Jones.