Thursday, May 2, 2013

An Evening of Readings Inspired by Tannie Stovall's Book Collection

On the evening of Saturday, April 20th, a lively group assembled at the home of Kathleen Dameron to listen to a series of short readings inspired by the book collection of Tannie Stovall. Kathleen is the guardian of what is now the Tannie Stovall Memorial Library, a collection of ~170 books that Tannie entrusted to Kathleen for safekeeping. His desire was that his books, including those that he authored, be the source of stimulating conversation and the instigators of lively debates on sociopolitical and cultural issues.

Kathleen and Cheryl Pegues co-organized the event and five people read that evening. Each explained why he or she thought the passage selected was appropriate for the event and then proceeded to recite it for the group.

Cheryl Pegues and Kathleen Dameron
© Discover Paris!

Ellen Kountz read from an essay called "Blacks Don't Read: They Are Still Our Slaves." It has become somewhat of an urban legend. Though its source is unknown, it is powerful food for thought.

Ellen showing a photo of Tannie and friends
© Discover Paris!

Curtis Robert Young reminisced about his hometown of Chicago and talked about his son, who worked for the Obama administration, before reading a passage about a community meeting at a church in Chicago from Obama's Dreams from My Father.

Curtis Robert Young
© Discover Paris!

Cheryl selected a passage from the first chapter of The Spook Who Sat by the Door, a novel by Sam Greenlee. The book is a favorite of her current beau and coincidentally is one that Tannie read and loaned to someone. Cheryl donated her copy to the library.

Cheryl standing before the audience
© Discover Paris!

Randy Garrett read from Tannie's last novel, Two Centuries in Two Weeks. He selected a passage that explains why Ralph, the African-American protagonist of the book, has decided to take his own life.

Randy Garrett
© Discover Paris!

Finally, Jake Lamar read from Chester Himes' The Quality of Hurt, fondly remembering how Tannie expressed disdain and disbelief when Jake admitted that he had not read any of Himes' work prior to coming to Paris.

Jake Lamar
© Discover Paris!

After the readings, a scrumptious Indian-Mauritanian buffet was served and the group danced and chatted for the duration of the evening.

© Discover Paris!

The Tannie Stovall Memorial Library will eventually become a lending library.

The Library
© Discover Paris!

To learn more, contact Kathleen Dameron at .


Tannie Stovall, Cheryl Pegues, Ellen Kountz, and Jake Lamar are all featured in the Discover Paris! publication Black Paris Profiles. Click here to learn more about the book.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

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