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Aug. 20, 2014

2014 One Book, One Community program kicks off Aug. 25

Michigan State University and the city of East Lansing will host three influential voices on the continuing struggle for racial equality during the annual One Book, One Community program this fall, starting with its kickoff Aug. 25.

This is the first time in the program’s 13-year history in which more than one selection was chosen and a non-written piece was featured: Graphic novel “March Book One” by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell; the film “Fruitvale Station” directed by Ryan Coogler; and the memoir “The Grace of Silence” by award-winning journalist and National Public Radio contributor Michele Norris.

This year’s OBOC program is coordinated in conjunction with MSU’s yearlong Project 60/50, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“The issues surrounding the Civil Rights movement, and the continuing issues of race in this country, are very complex,” said Ginny Haas, director of community relations at MSU. “This year the One Book, One Community committee, working with Project 60/50, decided to recognize that complexity by selecting a variety of works which span multiple decades and show a variety of perspectives.

“This also allows students and community members to engage in a way they feel most comfortable, and still be part of the discussions about this important issue.”

The Aug. 25 kickoff will feature “March Book One.” The novel is a vivid, first-hand account of Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. The authors will speak at MSU’s Academic Welcome at 9 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m. at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center. The MSU Alumni Association will livestream the 7:30 p.m. event.

“Fruitvale Station” is based on the true story of a 22-year-old black man who was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer on a subway platform in Oakland, Calif. Coogler will speak to the community at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center Auditorium.

“The Grace of Silence” explores Norris’ family's racial legacy and discusses how America talks about race. On Sept. 15, Norris will speak about her memoir and the "Race Card" project and sign books at 7:30 p.m. at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts as part of the World View Lecture Series. This event is ticketed. For ticket information, go here.

The annual OBOC program, sponsored by the city of East Lansing and MSU, encourages the city-university community to experience the same works and discuss them in a variety of settings.

For more information on OBOC programming, visit