January Was Launch Month

What a month January was for me, my co-author Jo Ann Allen Boyce, and our new book about her experience desegregating a Tennessee high school  in 1956, This Promise of Change. First, we visited schools in the Washington, DC area–thanks to An Open Book Foundation and East City Bookshop–and had our East Coast book launch at Politics & Prose Bookstore. (Those are cookies you see in the photo.) Expectations were exceeded all around.

             

Jo Ann traveled east from Los Angeles, where she lives, and she came with family. We planned months in advance to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture, jumping on the Internet early one morning way back when to grab tickets for our crew. But then: the shutdown. So disappointing for these out-of-towners, who haven’t yet been to this amazing museum. But a friend at the Supreme Court Historical Society came to the rescue and took us on a fabulous tour of the Court–including the basketball court on the top floor, also known as “the highest court in the land.” Also thrilling for all was meeting Gary Kemp, deputy clerk of the Supreme Court. Like Jo Ann, he’s from the South, and they had some stories to trade.

   

Then, later in January, it was time for our book’s West Coast launch–or, rather, launches, as we were hosted first by LA’s Children’s Book World and then by Pasadena’s Vroman’s Bookstore. Both are outstanding places for anyone who loves, or even just likes, books. We met warm, interested, interesting people. We simply loved it all. And I can tell you that anyone who heard Jo Ann speak of her experience and her refusal to give in to hatred and  resentment came away enriched. I know I do every time we speak.

   

 

 

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