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Race Matters Book Club

On Monday March 28th, the ACTS Race Matters Book Club will discuss “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  The discussion will start @ 7 PM on Zoom.  


There are 36 copies of this book in the in the Onondaga County Public Library system, so it should be accessible for all.  However, if you wish to order your own copy, try

“The unmissable debut novel by the critically acclaimed author of Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years in Power - a richly imagined and compulsively page-turning journey to freedom OPRAH BOOK CLUB PICK 'I haven't felt this way since I first read Beloved... I wish Toni [Morrison] was alive to actually read this book. She would be so proud' - Oprah


Hiram Walker is born into bondage on a Virginia plantation. But he is also born gifted with a mysterious power that he won't discover until he is almost a man, when he risks everything for a chance to escape. One fateful decision will carry him away from his makeshift plantation family - his adoptive mother, Thena, a woman of few words and many secrets, and his beloved, angry Sophia - and into the covert heart of the underground war on slavery.


Hidden amidst the corrupt grandeur of white plantation society, exiled as guerrilla cells in the wilderness, buried in the coffin of the deep South and agitating for utopian ideals in the North, there exists a widespread network of secret agents working to liberate the enslaved. Hiram joins their ranks and learns fast but in his heart he yearns to return to his own still-enslaved family, to topple the plantation that was his first home. But to do so, he must first master his unique power and reclaim the story of his greatest loss.


Propulsive, transcendent and blazing with truth, The Water Dancer is a story of oppression and resistance, separation and homecoming. Ta-Nehisi Coates imagines the covert war of an enslaved people in response to a generations-long human atrocity - a war for the right to life, to kin, to freedom. 'One of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Right up there in the top five. I was enthralled, I was devastated. I felt hope, I felt gratitude, I felt joy... [Ta-Nehisi Coates] is a magnificent writer' Oprah.”

Dialogue & Learn with the RACE MATTERS BOOK CLUB

As our community’s interfaith social justice network, ACTS is hopeful that these book-centered dialogues will bring greater awareness and action.  There are more than 30 regular members of the book club from 13+ different congregations with an average of a dozen or more persons participating each month.  Come share your thoughts with others, learn and engage in this important and fascinating journey.  Join us once or several times.

To make your registration for the March 28 discussion: 

email  The Zoom link will be sent to regular members and those registered closer to the discussion date.

Looking Ahead:  For April 25, we will be reading “The Sword & The Shield – The

                             Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.”

                             by Peniel E. Joseph.  

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The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee.webp
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My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem.webp

Looking Back:  

- On February 28, 2022, twenty people from ten local congregations engaged in a lively discussion of Heather McGhee’s “The Sum of Us – What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.”

- On January 24, 2022, the group discussed “Howard Thurman: Essential Writings” published by Orbis Books.  Howard Thurman was a preacher, educator, poet, theologian and civil rights leader best known for his ethical and cultural criticism. His writing influenced a wide audience, from Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi to young students exploring faith and social responsibility.

Thurman was among the first preachers to conduct Christian services in a nontraditional way, drawing from such eastern religious faiths as Buddhism and Hinduism. His philosophy of interfaith worship and dialogue is reflected in this collection of his essential writings. It reminds us all that out of religious faith emerges social responsibility and the power to transform lives.

Howard Thurman (1900-1981), has been called ""one of the greatest spiritual resources of this nation."" His encounters with Gandhi in India helped instill his commitment to nonviolence. His identification of Jesus as one of the disinherited helped shape the thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. His embrace of wisdom from other religious traditions emboldened interfaith cooperation and understanding.

Last Year:  In October 2021 we discussed "My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma

                  and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies”   In this groundbreaking

                  book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examined the damage caused by racism

                  in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology.

                  22 People joined from 8 congregations including: Dewitt Community Church,

                  Pebble Hill Presbyterian, St. Lucy's Catholic Church, Bayberry UCC. Trinity         

                  Episcopal, Hopps Memorial CME, Unity Church, and Bethany Baptist Church.   


                  In September 2021 we discussed nobel prize winner Toni Morrison's third

                  novel the "Song of Solomon."  This book was met with widespread acclaim

                  and has also faced challenges in schools throughout the U.S. since 1993.

                  Morrison was the first Black female editor in fiction at Random House in

                  New York City.  Her own subsequent novels have been praised for "addressing

                  the harsh consequences of racism in the U.S." (quoted from Roynon, Tessa)  

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