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African American Museum of Iowa Book Club 802 | Discussion of Rebecca Hall’s WAKE

October 24, 2023


Join Dragonfly Books and the African American Museum of Iowa for the first meeting of Book Club 802! Free coffee and treats will be provided, and participants can get 10% off Book Club 802 books at Dragonfly. The discussion will take place Tuesday, October 24th at 7:00 p.m. at Java John’s Coffee House, 400 West Water Street, Decorah. Sponsored by the Oneota Valley Literary Foundation. Register here to reserve your spot!

Led by African American Museum of Iowa educator Sydney O’Hare, the first meeting will discuss Rebecca Hall’s graphic novel WAKE: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF WOMEN-LED SLAVE REVOLTS (Simon & Schuster) which tells the story of Dr. Rebecca Hall, a historian, granddaughter of slaves, and a woman haunted by the legacy of slavery. The accepted history of slave revolts has always told her that enslaved women took a back seat. But Rebecca decides to look deeper, and her journey takes her through old court records, slave ship captain’s logs, crumbling correspondence, and even the forensic evidence from the bones of enslaved women from the “negro burying ground” uncovered in Manhattan. She finds women warriors everywhere.

Using a “remarkable blend of passion and fact, action and reflection” (NPR), Rebecca constructs the likely pasts of Adono and Alele, women rebels who fought for freedom during the Middle Passage, as well as the stories of women who led slave revolts in Colonial New York. We also follow Rebecca’s own story as the legacy of slavery shapes her life, both during her time as a successful attorney and later as a historian seeking the past that haunts her.

Why Book Club 802? The club draws its name from House File 802, legislation which bans Iowa governmental entities — including K-12 schools — and public colleges from teaching “divisive concepts.” As a non-governmental entity, the African American Museum of Iowa can continue to talk about race, racism and systemic oppression, and invites everyone to join us in the conversation. Learn more about the law here.

Book club participants will receive 10% off their purchase of WAKE at Dragonfly Books. To learn more about this event and other events with Dragonfly Books, visit www.dragonflybooks.com, or contact us at orders@dragonflybooks.com or 563-382-4275. To order books for upcoming book club meetings, give Dragonfly Books a call at 563-382-4275. Our staff will be glad to reserve a book and have it shipped out as needed.

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