Troy University selected the book "Citizen: An American Lyric" by Claudia Rankine as the focus of its NEA Big Read events.
Troy University will kick off its National Endowment for the Arts Big Read activities with the opening of the art exhibit, “Dismiss the Divide – Citizen: An American Lyric,” at the University’s Rosa Parks Museum at 6 p.m. on March 5.
The exhibit, a collaboration between students from Montgomery’s Jefferson Davis High School and students from TROY Department of Art and Design, is based on the book, “Citizen: An American Lyric,” by poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine. The event is free and open to the public, and those in attendance will receive free books and t-shirts.
All Big Read events were made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest. Troy University was one of 78 organizations nationally to receive grants to host NEA Big Read activities. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read seeks to broaden understanding of the world, local communities and individuals through the joy of sharing a good book. The grants enable selected organizations to promote and carry out community-based reading programs around a single book, featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings and performing arts events.
TROY Professor Ed Noriega and students will discuss the inspiration for the works of art included in the exhibit, which will be on display through April 30.
Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, two plays and numerous video collaborations. Her book, “Citizen: An American Lyric,” was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry and winner of the NAACP Image Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. It was also named one of the best books of the year by numerous media outlets, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, and Publisher’s Weekly.
In addition to the opening event, TROY’s Rosa Parks Library is partnering with the Rosa Parks Museum, the Montgomery City-County Public Libraries, Trenholm State Community College and the Alabama Book Festival to hold special NEA Big Read events throughout March and April.
Other Big Read events, which are free and open to the public, are:
- March 3, 10 a.m., Read with Rosa, a poetry reading event in the Charles Cahn Baum Atrium, Rosa Parks Museum, Troy University’s Montgomery Campus;
- March 5, 11 a.m., Book Discussion with the “Ramer Readin’ Right” book club at the Ramer Branch Library, 5444 State Highway 94 in Ramer;
- March 11, 11 a.m., Book Discussion with the “Rosa Parks Page Turners” at the Bertha Pleasant Williams Branch Library, 1275 Rosa L. Parks Ave. in Montgomery;
- March 11, 2 p.m., Book Discussion with “The Book Bunch” book club at the Governor’s Square Branch Library, 2885-B E. South Blvd. in Montgomery;
- March 12, 3 p.m., Book Discussion with the “Southern Charms Book Club” at the Coliseum Boulevard Branch Library, 840 Coliseum Blvd. in Montgomery;
- March 24, 12:30 p.m., Lunch and Learn presentation, “The Criminal Justice System Then & Now: From the Scottsboro Boys to the Equal Justice Initiative,” Trenholm State Community College’s Patterson Campus, 3920 Troy Highway in Montgomery;
- March 31, 2 p.m., Film Screening of “Dark Girls” followed by the discussion “The Psychology of Beauty Among Women,” presented by Dr. Kanessa Doss, associate professor of psychology at Troy University, Trenholm State Community College’s Patterson Campus, 3920 Troy Highway in Montgomery;
- March 31, 6:30 p.m., Book Discussion with the “Novel Colors Book Club” at Books-A-Million, 7074 Eastchase Parkway in Montgomery;
- April 6, 6 p.m., Book Discussion with the “After 5 Book Club” at the Rufus A. Lewis Regional Library, 3095 Mobile Highway in Montgomery;
- April 7, 6:30 p.m., Book Discussion with the “Cover to Cover Book Club” at the Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library, 245 High St. in Montgomery;
- April 7, 7 p.m., Screening of the film “13” followed by a discussion of the book, ”Citizen: An America Lyric,” Trenholm State Community College Library, 1225 Air Base Blvd. in Montgomery;
- April 18, noon, NEA Big Read & “Citizen: An American Lyric” will be discussed at the Alabama Book Festival in Old Alabama Town, downtown Montgomery;
- April 23, 3 p.m., Book Discussion with the “Curious Genre Book Club” at the Coliseum Boulevard Branch Library, 840 Coliseum Blvd. in Montgomery;
- April 27, noon, Book Discussion with the “Extraordinary Lunch Bunch” at the Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library, 245 High St. in Montgomery.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $20 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every congressional district in the country, and more than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event.