Despite no participants, Anne Hawkins, a TALK scholar, continued with her discussion of the latest installment, The Underground Railroad, at the L.W. Nixon Library event, “TALK” (Talk About Literature). Hawkins teaches U.S. history at Washburn University.
On Thursday, Nov. 11, from 2-3:30 p.m. Butler Community College Library hosted “TALK,” event where the college discusses literature. TALK is a grant-funded program from Humanities Kansas where each semester they discuss three different books on a specific theme. At each meeting there is a TALK scholar who holds a discussion about the book.
“Our core group of participants are retirees, although students, faculty and staff and anyone else in the Butler community are welcome to attend,” Host/Reference and Instruction Librarian Ruth Harries said. “This semester’s theme is ‘Wit & Grit: Women Characters in Contemporary Fiction.’ Today we are discussing Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which is about a woman who escapes from slavery in Georgia.”
In this series, women of contemporary literature face situations and decisions that would challenge a shipload of whalers. Readers meet women who think, act and engage life on their own terms in search of their freedom, and their dreams.
A large portion of the discussion was about what the mindset of stolen Africans was like. While the book was used as reference, what was further discussed was how difficult life was even after the protagonist, Cora escaped slavery. This was explored by considering all the hardships Cora faced and culture shocks she experienced. This topic was then expounded beyond the book into present day life. Hawkins discussed her studies on advancement of Black Americans and how difficult life could be while others remind you you’re “free.”