(Washington, D.C.) Today , the District of Columbia Public Library held a
press conference to announce Fathering Words.: The Making of an African American Writer
as the book selection for the District's second annual citywide book club entitled DC
We Read. The book is a memoir by D.C. resident E.Ethelbert Miller, who is an
awardwinning poet and literary activist. The Library has designated this book as
recommended reading for adults from May 1-31. For the second year in a
|row, the D.C. Public Library is presenting DC We Read, a
project to stimulate literacy and discussion. Like last year, formal book discussions are
scheduled throughout the month of May.
Patricia Pasqual, Chair of the Book Selection
Committee for DC We Read, started the press conference by describing the purpose
and goals of the project, which are to get the citizens of Washington, D.C. reading the
same book at the same time. She then introduced Bernice Johnson Reagon, scholar and
composer, and founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock, the internationally renowned a cappella
ensemble. Ms. Reagon was the special guest invited to expound on the importance of
literacy and to introduce Mr . Miller. Mr. Miller then gave remarks about his book and the
This collaborative reading effort has been successful in many
cities including Chicago and Seattle. Last year, the book of choice for the kick off of
the inaugural DC We Read project was Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years.
Readers participated in lively discussions about these centenarians and the secrets to
their long and fulfilling lives.
"The success we had last year with the project illustrates the desire people in
W.ashington DC have to be connected with one another in ways other than residency ,"
said Molly Raphael, Library Director of the D.C. Public Library. "The library is
etommitted to helping build relationships with the surrounding community and its Partners.
We continue to strive to do whatever we can to promote literacy ."
This year's book selection will offer readers an the opportunity to ponder how one
becomes an artist and the always lively and. heart,.wrenching topic of family
relationships. The DC Center for the Book at DCPL has organized a number of
events around Fathering Words at D.C. Public Library facilities. On May 12
and June 3, Miller will appear at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library and
on May 20, at his local branch, the Takoma Park Neighborhood Library . Also
during book discussions, there will be a screening of the " At
Howard" series produced by Howard University Television that features a
segment on Miller.
Miller is a prominent figure in the arts community in both
Washington, D.C., where he has lived for more than 30 years, and nationally.
"The fact that Miller has established deep roots in D.C. endears him
to Washingtonians," said Patricia Pasqual, head of Targeted and Outreach
Services at the D.C. Public Library ."He shines a light on an aspect of D.C. that is
not often iIluminated---its rich African American literary culture."
DC; We Read 2003 is being sponsored by the generous support of community
partners: The Washington Post, Starbucks, Walkers Shortbread and Washington Gas.
The Washington Post has donated advertising space to promote the project and is
creating an online book chat. Walker Shortbread and Starbucks, as they did last
year, will be providing refreshments for the book discussions and author events. And, to
ensure that residents
participating in DC We Read have a copy of Fathering Words, Washington
Gas is contributing 100 copies of the book in paperback for the Library's
collection. All donations to the Library are being made to the District -of Columbia