One Minneapolis, One Read aims to bring people together

Later this year, folks all over Minneapolis will have something in common: a book. One Minneapolis, One Read will bring people together and spark conversations by having everyone read the same book, and employees are welcome to participate in this big community endeavor.

The book being read is "The Grace of Silence" by Minneapolis native and National Public Radio host Michele Norris. Her memoir describes the experience of the Norrises as the first black family on their block in a south Minneapolis neighborhood. Norris also details her discovery of race-based family secrets. In her research for the book, Norris learned that her father, upon his return from service in World War II, had been shot by a police officer in Alabama.

"The Grace of Silence" offers opportunities for conversation about race, family and neighborhood history that go beyond the accounts in the book. This is the first time Minneapolis has embarked on an initiative like this, and you can get involved by reading "The Grace of Silence", sponsoring a book discussion, hosting a movie and discussion that explores issues of race, exploring and discovering history of your neighborhood in the context of race, sponsoring a day of listening, encouraging listening to family and friends and recording those conversations. Or come up with your own way to participate!

The idea for a community read was inspired by Building Bridges, a group of residents in south Minneapolis neighborhoods whose mission is to understand how race and racism affect our communities. Instead of walking away from difficult discussions on a recent racially-polarized local issue, the community wanted to find a way to help promote better understanding and enable more discussion. Norris’ aunt, Doris Christopher, is one of the leaders of Building Bridges.

There will be events this fall that will include a variety of opportunities to share and learn. And, author Michele Norris will visit and join the discussions.

If youd like to read the book, it can be checked out (hard cover or CD audiobook) or downloaded from the Hennepin County Library. To reserve a copy or download the book, go to the library’s website and enter the book title in the Search Catalog box. The book can also be purchased for e-readers or in hard cover. It will be released in paperback in early September.

You can learn more about "The Grace of Silence" and Michele Norris efforts to engage people in conversation about race at www.michele-norris.com. The first chapter of the book can also be viewed on the City’s website.

To get more information and to get involved in One Minneapolis, One Read:

Published Aug 3, 2011