Common Book author to come to JSC


Baratunde Thurston

Each year, during summer orientation, new incoming students to JSC are given a book to read before beginning their studies. This year, that book was “How To Be Black,” written by black activist Baratunde Thurston. 


The book, chosen by a Common Reading Initiative Selection Committee, made up of faculty, staff and students, spent the fall and spring of 2016 reviewing suggestions submitted by members of the school and public community.


According to Margo Warden, Director of First Year Experience, this years’ book was greatly supported by the JSC Community, the President, the Diversity Task Force and the faculty. 


“We began the selection process knowing that we wanted to pick a book that would help us create and sustain a campus dialogue focusing on race, diversity, and inclusion,” she said. “‘How To Be Black’ delivers a serious conversation in an accessible and memorable manner.”


The book does all of those things, plus it is hilarious. Thurston’s use of satire throughout his book allows vulnerability and lightheartedness to pierce an otherwise stern topic.


“Satire as a form, I think, holds a special place because it often uses humor,” he said. “Humor is vulnerable; humor touches the soul; humor allows you to hear opposing viewpoints without getting offended.”


Baratunde Thurston will be joining us on campus on Monday, September 9 at 8 p.m. in Dibden Center for the Arts for an author talk and book signing. There will also be a special event before the talk where 25 students will be able to join President Collins and Baratunde Thurston for dinner. 


There are limited spaces available for students at the dinner. If you are interested please email Margo Warden as soon as possible to get your name on the list. Tickets for the talk and book signing can be picked up in Dewey Hall at the office of First Year Experience.