West African Art and Music in Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, with Victoria Shields

Drawing from the African American Cultural Humanities (AC) curriculum, Educator Victoria Shields leads a workshop for music and art lovers with discussion of the 2018 Washtenaw Read, Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. Shields examines the social and historical contexts presented in Homegoing using music — including a focus on how West Africa influenced American music — as well as visual art from the Detroit Institute of Art collection.

AADL Talks To: AA/Ypsi Reads Author Cristina Henriquez

In this episode, AADL Talks To Christina Henriquez, author of the award-winning novel The Book Of Unknown Americans. The Book Of Unknown Americans was the book selected for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2016.

The Book Of Unknown Americans centers on fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera, who sustains a terrible injury. Her family leaves behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risks everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, the son of one of their new neighbors, who sees a kindred spirit in this beautiful, damaged outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved.

Henríquez seamlessly interweaves the story of these star-crossed lovers, and of the Rivera and Toro families, with the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America.

For more information and resources related to Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, please visit the program's website at aareads.org.

AADL Talks To Ruta Sepetys

In this episode, we talk with author of 2014 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads title Between Shades of Gray, the story of a Lithuanian family's persecution at the hands of Soviet Russia in the midst of World War II.

Ruta Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. The nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia disappeared from maps in 1941 and did not reappear until 1990. As this is a story seldom told, Ruta wanted to give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives during Stalin's cleansing of the Baltic region. Born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers, Ruta lives with her family in Tennessee. Between Shades of Gray, her first novel, was inspired by her family's history in Lithuania and is published in 40 countries.

Between Shades Of Gray, her the 2011 debut novel, was a New York Times Notable Book, a Carnegie Medal Nominee, and the winner of the Golden Kite Award, as well as the recipient of a multitude of national and international awards. Based on survivor stories of the genocide of Baltic people, it has become an international bestseller and translated into more than 27 languages.

11th Annual Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Event: Connie Rice

This 11th annual event focuses on the 2013 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads book selection "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander and will also explore this year's theme 'Understanding Race.' The Keynote Speaker will be one of America's most influential civil rights attorneys - Connie Rice, Co-Director for the Advancement Project, Los Angeles, and renowned for her unconventional approaches to tackling problems of inequity and exclusion. California Law Business Journal twice designated Connie Rice as one of the top ten most influential attorneys in California. She is a civil rights lawyer who engineers systemic fixes to entrenched inequality and injustice.Through impact litigation, campaigns and inside bureaucratic maneuvering, Connie Rice has led coalitions and clients to win more than $30 billion in damages, bonds and policy changes. Bus riders, death row inmates, folks abused by police, school kids, whistleblowers, cops and sufferers of every stripe of discrimination, (sex, race, disability, age) have sought her counsel. But so have her opponents, like the Los Angeles Police Department she sued for 15 years but which now reserves a parking space for her at their new headquarters.Connie grew up all over the world in an Air Force family headed by her parents Anna, a biology teacher, and Phillip, a pilot and Colonel. She graduated from Harvard-Radcliffe colleges in 1978, achieved her black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 1981 and entered New York University School of Law on a Root Tilden Scholarship. In law school she worked extensively on capital punishment cases at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and after graduating from law school in 1984, she clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for two years before winging it west to California where she joined the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. She rejoined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1989 as Western Regional Counsel, won several landmark cases and in the words of one magazine, established herself as "the voice of Los Angeles' oppressed." Together with Co-Directors Molly Munger, Penda Hair and Steve English, Connie launched The Advancement Project, a policy action and technology organization in 1998, and in the words of Los Angeles Magazine, "picked up where Clarence Darrow left off." Connie serves on the board of public radio station KPCC and as chief of staff to Sinbad, her jet black cat.This is a key event for the 2013 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program, which this year focuses on the theme of "Understanding Race."

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads & MLK Day Event: Professor Roy E. Finkenbine: Searching for Jordan Anderson: A Personal Journey Into Race And Slavery In America

Jordan Anderson, an African-American who moved to Ohio when he was freed from slavery in 1864, is famous for his "Letter from a Freedman to His Old Master," addressed in response to a request from his former master that Jordan return to help restore the farm after the Civil War. The letter became an immediate media sensation with reprints in the New York Daily Tribune and other publications and has been described as a rare example of documented "slave humor" of the period - its deadpan style compared to the writing of Mark Twain.In the famous letter, Anderson asks his former master to prove his goodwill by paying the back wages he and his wife are owed for 52 years combined of slave labor and asks if his daughters will be safe and able to have an education, since Jordan would rather die "than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. He concludes with, "Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me."Professor Roy E Finkenbine, Chair of History at Detroit Mercy College, is a specialist on slavery, abolition, and the Underground Railroad, and is writing a biography on Anderson and the famous letter. Join us on MLK Day as Dr. Finkenbine discusses his search for information about Anderson's fascinating life and the history of the famous letter. He will also share his personal experiences involving the heritage of race and slavery in America while on this research journey.Dr. Finkenbine co-edited the five-volume "Black Abolitionist Papers, 1830-1865" and "Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation." He recently completed a second edition of "Sources Of The African American Past" and was appointed to the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission. This event is held in conjunction with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2013. This year's Reads' theme is 'Understanding Race.'

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Event: Michigan Innocence Clinic

In conjunction with this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads which focuses on Michelle Alexander's book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness" - Professor David Moran, Co-directer of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and student lawyers Shannon Leitner, Susan Shutts, and Klara Stephens, discuss their work identifying and rectifying wrongful convictions and their commitment to exonerating innocent individuals and combating injustice.At the Michigan Innocence Clinic at Michigan Law, clinic students investigate and litigate cases on behalf of prisoners who have new evidence that may establish that they are actually innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted. Unlike many other innocence clinics, which specialize in DNA exonerations, the Michigan Innocence Clinic focuses on innocence cases where there is no biological evidence to be tested. Innocence Clinic students work on all aspects of the cases, including investigating new evidence, preparing state post-conviction motions, conducting hearings and arguing motions in conjunction with these motions, and filing appeals to the state and federal courts. The Clinic has already exonerated several of its clients since its inception in 2009.For more information about Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, check out the website at aaypsireads.org.This event is for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

10th Annual Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Event At Washtenaw Community College - Morris Lawrence Building

Focusing on the 2012 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads book selection "Born On A Blue Day: Inside The Mind Of An Autistic Savant" by Daniel Tammet, this extraordinary evening will feature nationally-known Autism Consultant Dr. Julie Donnelly and (via Skype) Dr. Darold Treffert, one of the world's leading experts on Autistic Savant Syndrome.Dr. Darold Treffert will discuss Extraordinary Savant Syndrome highlighting recent developments in research on this remarkable condition.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Event: An Evening With Author Stephen G. Bloom: Making Sense Of The World

The theme for Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads 2012 is Language: How We Communicate. Award-winning journalist Stephen G. Bloom, the UM Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism, will discuss how he communicates through non-fiction writing - including his December piece "Observations From 20 Years of Iowa Life" in The Atlantic which set off a firestorm of controversy placing him in the national spotlight. Bloom will also discuss the role of journalists today, touching on the future of journalism and nonfiction writing. Since 1993, Bloom has been on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa, where he is Professor and the Bessie Dutton Murray Professional Scholar. Prior to joining the Iowa faculty, Bloom was a staff writer at the Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, and Dallas Morning News. He was a Brazilian correspondent for the Field News Service and national news editor at the Latin America Daily Post. He is the author of "Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls," "The Oxford Project" with photographer Peter Feldstein, "Inside the Writer's Mind" and "Postville: A Clash of Cultures In Heartland America." His work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Atlantic, Smithsonian, The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Wilson Quarterly, Salon, Chronicle of Higher Education, American Journalism Review, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Money, Journal of Health Communication, Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, American Editor, and National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads Event: Literacy Learners Share Their Stories

The 2011 Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads 2011 book Life Is So Good is the story of George Dawson, a man who learned to read at age 98. Dawson's story of becoming literate at a late age is truly inspirational. What are the learning stories of local residents - and what are their successes? Be inspired as a panel of local literacy learners share their experiences. Discover how you can engage in learning that makes life worth living as a learner or volunteer. This event is co-sponsored by the Literacy Coalition of Washtenaw County.