Open Minds Book Club Summer 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students

Join us as we discuss the Open Minds Book Club’s summer book,  Self Portrait in Black and White by Thomas Chatterton Williams. Facilitated by Brian Bowdle and Jakob Bigard, participants will engage one another in a large group discussion on the book’s core themes. The Open Minds Book Club’s second meeting, via Zoom, is on Thursday, June 24 at 2 PM. The registration for Open Minds Book Club is closed. If you are still interested in participating please email Jakob Bigard at

A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a “black” father from the segregated South and a “white” mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he’d never rigorously reflected on its foundationsbut the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions.

It is not that he has come to believe that he is no longer black or that his kids are white, Williams notes. It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of themor anyone else, for that matter. Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White  is an urgent work for our time.

More information about Open Minds Book Club can be found here

Contact Information
(616) 331-2770


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This event was added to the calendar by Samantha York ( on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 and was last updated on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 12:38 p.m.