Discuss the 1619 Project in new series this fall

Join your neighbors, families, students, and friends this fall for a circle discussion series inspired by the 1619 Project.

What is the 1619 Project?

It’s an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”

The groundbreaking project, which began in 2019, has expanded to include a companion podcast and related books.

How you can get involved: We’ll hold three interactive anti-racist circle discussions in October and November. Also, we’ll enjoy a concert by D-Composed, an all-Black chamber music collective. See below for full schedule and details.

A circle discussion in the Main Library Veterans Room

“If we are truly a great nation, the truth cannot destroy us.”

― Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the 1619 Project

What is a circle discussion?

What can you expect at a circle discussion? Above all, it’s a structured process where we come together in community to explore a subject.

We ask a series of questions and give everyone an equal opportunity to share, listen to one another, and reflect. Everyone will be empowered to share personal stories, honor our history, and grow in hope.

Furthermore, each circle will be led by trained middle school, high school, and college students, as well as adults.

Another key point: Circles as we practice them are rooted in the traditional practices of Indigenous cultures in North America.

Three young people in discussion. Two listen as the third speaks.

Register to participate in the Main Library Veterans Room

All discussions and the concert will be held in person in the Main Library Veterans Room. You can attend any or all sessions.

Given the structure of the discussion circles, please register in advance and try to arrive on time.

Sunday, October 2, 2-3:30 pm: Born on the Water (ages 8+). Join us for live music and a read-aloud of the book The 1619 Project: Born on the Water. Interactive discussion circles and activities will follow. For ages 8+ and adults. Please register »

Sunday, October 23, 2-3:30 pm: The Fight for a True Democracy (ages 11+). Participate in interactive discussion circles on the fight for democracy that never ended and honoring our long legacy of resistance. Inspired by the companion 1619 podcast, episode 1: “The Fight for a True Democracy.” For ages 11+ and adults. Please register »

Sunday, November 6, 1-1:45 pm: D-Composed Concert. A Black chamber music collective, D-Composed is entirely composed of Black musicians and exclusively features the works of Black composers. At a D-Composed program, it’s no surprise to see worlds collide—to hear the sounds of Florence Price in the same program as Solange. Please register »

Sunday, November 6, 2-3:30 pm: The Birth of American Music (ages 11+). Participate in interactive discussion circles inspired by the D-Composed concert and companion 1619 podcast, episode 3: “The Birth of American Music.” Ages 11+ and adults. Please register »

Partnership makes it possible

This series is made possible with the support of the D97 and D200 school districts, the E-Team of Oak Park, Dominican University’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) group, the Township of Oak Park, and the Oak Park Public Library.​

In 2021, we read and discussed in community circles the March graphic novels by John Lewis.

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