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History Reads Book Club: The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. for the first installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2023. This hybrid discussion will be held in the Governor Fifer Courtroom at the Museum and online via Zoom to discuss The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaeli. Visit bit.ly/history207virtual to register for the online discussion or bit.ly/history207inperson  to participate in person.

Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of black America. Robert S. Abbott founded The Defender in 1905, smuggled hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, and was dubbed a "Modern Moses," becoming one of the first black millionaires in the process. His successor wielded the newspaper’s clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost in 1960 if not for The Defender’s support. Along the way, its pages were filled with columns by legends like Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, and Martin Luther King.

Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of race in America and brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen’s clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama.

Registration is required and can be completed online using the links above. You may also register by calling 309.590.6168 or by visiting the Adult Services Desk in person. Registrants of the online version of this program will receive an email confirmation which contains the link to join the program on Zoom.

To request a copy of the book, please contact the Reference Desk at Bloomington Public library at 309-590-6168 or email reference@bloomingtonlibrary.org.

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All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. for the first installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2023. This hybrid discussion will be held in the Governor Fifer Courtroom at the Museum and online via Zoom to discuss The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaeli. Visit bit.ly/history207virtual to register for the online discussion or 

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