One Book, One Belmont Presents…

While One Book, One Belmont is a tradition among our Library family, the events of 2020 have inspired our committee to go in a different direction for this unique community read in 2021. As such, One Book, One Belmont presents…

Better Through Books: Healing Community Together

The events of 2020 were profound, and we could not simply choose one topic for this year’s event, with one book, and the usual slate of programs.

For this effort we’ve chosen a dual focus which will cover a few different books and multiple programming opportunities that span 2 months, rather than the traditional one-month program. In this unique time, our committee has decided that the theme for our community read in 2021 must be healing – healing from a devastating year that we will never forget.

We will begin in the month of March, with a focus on anti-racism, and celebrate a call for equity, diversity, and inclusion. In the month of April, we will focus on wellness, and specifically the need for coping, optimism, and resiliency.

The Committee is hard at work planning our great events, which will be mostly held virtually through Zoom sessions, but is proud to be announcing the Keynote Speaker for our March focus now:

The March Keynote Address, held on Tuesday, March 30th at 7pm, will feature E. Dolores Johnson, local author and Cambridge resident, who will join us to speak about her book, Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love, which tells the true story of her family.

In 1943, black Charles and white Ella fled Indiana’s anti-race-mixing law, city council Klansmen and a historic lynching. Ella disappeared, evaded an FBI search to marry in Buffalo, then lived in hiding for 36 years – until their adult daughter, the author, questioned who and where their white family was. 24 years before Richard and Mildred Loving overturned anti-miscegenation laws in a 1967 Supreme Court win, this couple chose love over the law.

Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love is the heartfelt recounting of generations of a family who refused to be bound by anti-race-mixing norms/laws and persistent bigotry. In following their story, we travel through America’s racial history. This is a memoir of secrets, separation, and transformation that reveals America’s changing attitudes toward race, discovered through the courageous journeys of the women in Johnson’s family. The Library has purchased 50 copies of the book, and they are available now.  

In addition to E. Dolores Johnson on the 30th, our March focus will include programming focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion such as:

  • A showing of An American Story: Race Amity and the Other Tradition as seen on WGBH on March 18th. Local filmmaker William H. “Smitty” Smith has devoted his life to shedding light on enduring friendships between people of different races that have created profound, historic change, which he says reflect “race amity.” Race Amity and the Other Tradition lets us in on those and other such transformative relationships that advance equity and social justice
  • An afternoon focused on the music of Duke Ellington on March 20th
  • Dial M For Movies will feature a special showing of the film Loving on March 22nd, with a discussion later that week on March 24th
  • A month long focus by our Teen Advisory Board on titles highlighting “Being Black in America”
  • Other programs are being finalized now including efforts ranging from celebrating African Diaspora cooking all the way to the Equal Justice Initiatives happening in our area

Stay tuned for more details on a variety of Better Through Books: Healing Community Together programs in the coming days and weeks, and also our April program slate focused on Wellness which is being finalized now and already includes:

  • A New York Times Best-selling author speaking with us live
  • Several opportunities to get outside and get active 
  • A special presentation of Art focused on healing
  • A Post Secret/post card sharing interactive program
  • A pair of authors helping us find our way from loss to peace

Join us for Better Through Books: Healing Community Together, beginning March 1st.