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BOOK CLUB Report: The Riverside Book Club

Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about the written word and I love a good discussion about great books. As What's The 411TV's Book Editor, I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion when I visited The Riverside Book Club at The Riverside Church in Manhattan on Saturday, September 13, 2014.

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The Riverside Book Club meeting od September 13, 2014

The book under discussion:

HARLEM NOCTURNE: Women Artists & Progressive Politics During World War II
(New York: Basic Civitas, 2013)

Author: Farah Jasmine Griffin


As World War II raged overseas, Harlem witnessed a battle of its own. Brimming with creative and political energy, Harlem's diverse array of artists and activists launched a bold cultural offensive aimed at winning democracy for all Americans, regardless of race or gender. In HARLEM NOCTURNE, esteemed scholar, Farah Jasmine Griffin, tells the stories of three black female artists whose creative and political efforts fueled this movement for change: novelist Ann Petry, a major new literary voice; choreographer and dancer Pearl Primus, a pioneer in her field; and composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams, a prominent figure in the emergence of Bebop.

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Author Farah Jasmine Griffin listens intently as members of The Riverside Book Club discuss her book, HARLEM NOCTURNE: Women Artists & Progressive Politics During World War II

As Griffin shows, these women made enormous strides for social justice during the war, laying the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement before the Cold War temporarily froze their democratic dreams. HARLEM NOCTURNE captures a period of unprecedented vitality and progress for African Americans and women in the United States.

(This overview is taken from:

My Take-Away from The Riverside Book Club's discussion:

HARLEM NOCTURNE sparks memories for book club members who either lived in Harlem during the 1940s or who recall being told stories about that time in Harlem. Oral history keeps the stories of Harlem's history alive and vibrant, even in the face of enormous change today, with Harlem's gentrification.

Meeting Info: The Riverside Book Club meets every month on the 2nd Saturday, from 11am to 1pm.

Contact: Mary Biggs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about The Riverside Book Club

Invite What's The 411TV Book Editor, Luvon Roberson, to your next book club meeting!

Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @LuvonRwriter on Twitter.

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