By Gale Greenlee
Here at Greensboro Bound, we’re not just building a festival, we’re building community. And when something awesome involving books is happening in Greensboro, we want to share that news.
Every two years, the Greensboro Public Library brings people together with its community-wide reading initiative known as One City, One Book (OCOB). The premise is simple: the Library chooses a book and challenges as many residents as possible to read and talk about it. For more than two months, people gather in schools and libraries, in parks and homes, and on the streets. And on Saturday, August 26, we hope the streets will be buzzing as the Library launches its 8th OCOB with a celebratory block party.
For the first time in OCOB’s history, the Greensboro community helped choose the book. After a selection committee whittled down the options, hundreds of community members weighed in and voted. The winner? Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. The book schools us on the invaluable contributions black female mathematicians made to NASA’s space program, all while living in the midst of Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cold War.
Maybe you already know about these awe-inspiring women called “human computers.” The book made the New York Times bestseller list, after all. Maybe you’ve seen the Oscar-nominated movie starring Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, and Taraji P. Henson – who, for the record, entered college as an engineering major at N.C. A&T (Aggie Pride!). Or maybe you’ve heard about Greensboro’s many connections to Hidden Figures; the real-life daughter of Henson’s character calls the Gate City her home, and many of NASA’s early female recruits came from what’s now UNCG. Whatever the case, here’s your chance to read the book, see the blockbuster film at LeBauer Park, and participate in important conversations about civil rights, racial and gender justice, and persistent inequities in STEM fields, our nation, and our community.
Book discussions (a.k.a. real talk about real issues) ground the project. But in true OCOB fashion, the line-up also includes family-friendly, fun events and programs that move beyond the book. There will be rocket launches and drone demos, vintage fashion shows, live radio broadcasts, and old school Sci-Fi films. You can try your hand at some kitchen chemistry or explore coding. Meet some of Greensboro’s own “hidden figures,” like members of local immigrant and refugee communities, or women entrepreneurs working in holistic therapy, yoga, and personal care. Learn about “hidden epidemics” like domestic violence or “hidden issues” like those affecting individuals with disabilities.
OCOB is about a book, but it’s about much more. So read the book and join the conversation. Be a part of the community.
For a complete calendar of One City, One Book programs, including Margot Lee Shetterly’s September 28 visit, click here.