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.
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 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.