Minneapolis starts community ‘read’

by Anissa Stocks

Minneapolis has launched a citywide “read,” exploring race, as part of an effort to promote literacy and conversation among community members.

Minneapolis native and NPR host Michele Norris’s memoir “The Grace of Silence” is the first book selected. It spans several decades as Norris traces her family’s history from Alabama to Minnesota and her experiences growing up in the Field neighborhood as part of the first black family on a block.

The read emerged after a group of residents debated over a dog area at the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park said, Elizabeth Glidden, Ward 8 councilwoman.

She said the read’s inspiration came from racial tension between residents.

The idea will help people discuss controversial issues that are sometimes ignored, Glidden said.

 The read is the first of its kind for Minneapolis, but has been an idea used by U.S. cities like Chicago for years.

An Oct. 3 event called “One Minneapolis, One Read” at the Guthrie Theater will feature Norris and MPR News host Kerri Miller in a dialogue between community leaders, residents and readers.

Glidden said the event will bring attention to the community’s divides and provide a forum for discussions on family, race and history.