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Reader Series: A Year of James Baldwin - Session 3

James Baldwin was a remarkable novelist, a legendary essayist, a civil rights activist, and one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. Baldwin once said, "You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you can’t, but also knowing literature is indispensable to the world... The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter even but a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it." Join this class and allow the months of reading, analyzing, and marveling at Baldwin’s insight and eloquence transform your thinking and feelings about race, America, history, love, hate, and much more.

NOTE: This is the third session of a yearlong class on all of Baldwin's work. Participants from sessions 1-2 can rejoin for session 3. New participants are welcome to join for session 3—no prior knowledge is necessary. 

Session 3
Sep 11: No Name in the Street
Oct 9: If Beale Street Could Talk
Nov 13: Just Above My Head
Dec 11: James Baldwin: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations


About Reader Series: Reader series classes take 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 instant expert in a single subject or author’s body of work.

Each participant can decide how they choose to engage with the classes. You can read the books ahead of time, read them as the class progresses, or read them after the class has concluded. No matter your level of prior knowledge, you will receive a wealth of materials and insights in a condensed period, like a master class or a great course, only right here in Cleveland.


Instructor: Michelle R. Smith is a writer, blogger, educator, and cultural facilitator, living and working out of Twinsburg, Ohio. She is the author of the poetry collection Ariel in Black (Guide to Kulchur Press) and an upcoming chapbook tentatively titled The Real Jazz Wives of Twentieth Century America (Outlandish Press). She has been published in poemmemoirstory, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, and The Normal School. She has been a featured reader and performer at The Lakewood Public Library, The Cleveland Museum of Arts, Cleveland Drafts – Brews + Prose, and Story Club Cleveland East Side. She has presented writing workshops at the East Cleveland Public Library and PNC Fairfax Connection. She is also the creator, producer, and director of BLAX MUSEUM, an annual performance showcase open to all forms and dedicated to honoring notable black figures in American history and culture.


Details: Reader Series: James Baldwin takes place the second Saturday of each month from 10am-12pm remote online via Zoom.

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