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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

WDET’s Third Summer Book Club: Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”

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Image credit: Meta Stange / WDET

Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, published in 1952, is a primer to understand racial inequality in American then and now. Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson will be leading a discussion on-air and online.

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For the third year, 101.9 WDET will host a book club on the radio, online and on Facebook. This year, we will be reading “Invisible Man,” a novel by Ralph Ellison, published by Random House in 1952.

When Ralph Ellison wrote ‘Invisible Man’ in the early 20th century, he sought to expose America to the horrors of racial inequality and violence that defined Black people’s lives.” — Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today

Hosted by Pulitzer Prize winning commentator and Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson, the WDET Book Club encourages everyone in the Detroit region to take part in reading and discussing this novel about race and identity. 


Listen: Stephen Henderson speaks with Source Booksellers’ Janet Webster Jones about Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”


Invisible Man” won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1953. In 1998, it was ranked No. 19 on the Modern Library  list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. The book has been compared to Franz Kafka, and according to the New York Times, former U.S. president Barack Obama modeled his memoir “Dreams from My Father” on Ellison’s novel.

When Ralph Ellison wrote ‘Invisible Man’ in the early 20th century, he sought to expose America to the horrors of racial inequality and violence that defined Black people’s lives,” says Henderson.


Join WDET’s Book Club “Invisible Man” discussion on Facebook.


The same novel, published today, would paint no less an accurate picture.

As the nation erupts with exasperation over police brutality and systemic racism, we will read and discuss “Invisible Man”’s pinpoint descriptions of inequality and racism in the 20th century and bring them forward to today’s demonstrations and protests. Never before has the past been more key to understanding the present, or shaping the future.

On-air, Online Discussion

WDET's 2019 Book Club final event.Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

WDET’s 2019 Book Club final event.

WDET’s Detroit Today will discuss the book weekly and will feature authors, experts and advocates exploring the impact the book has had over the better part of the last century, as well as its relevance today. Detroit Today will delve into real experiences of institutionalized racism including its impact on issues of individuality and personal identity. 

WDET’s book club topics will include conversations about the history of race relations in the United States, inherent biases in the judicial system, law enforcement, institutional racism and how to identify and correct it. 

The conversation will continue on the WDET Book Club Facebook page, and we will invite experts, authors and academics to join the conversation with readers.

WDET plans to convene a series of live, online conversations open to the public. These conversations will take place in late July and August. Details on topics and guests will be announced in the coming weeks. In person events are currently on hold and will be announced if social distancing, health  and safety can be  guaranteed.

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

detroittoday@wdet.org

This post is a part of WDET Book Club.

Currently reading: "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison. Read the book and engage with us online, on the radio and at events throughout the region.

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