This magnificent-looking man is Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery and who became an abolitionist, writer, great thinker, and inspiration to all who hungered for freedom. With that biblical look, he reminds me of Dick Gregory, who I wrote about once on this blog. I'm writing about Frederick Douglass today because last Saturday I had a reading and book event at the branch of Detroit's Public Library that is named after him, and that was a day to remember. The library had a water main break in December and had been closed to the public ever since, so it was nip-and-tuck about whether they would be open in time for my reading, which had been arranged months and months previously.
The good news was that they were open. The staff was wonderfully warm and welcoming. The group that gathered to hear me read stayed after for a long while to ask questions and discuss their fears and longings about Detroit, race, the possibilities of dialogue. I'm too tired to tell it all now, though. Came home with a bad cold. Bleary eyed and wishing I could just crawl back into bed. But I did need to at least post this small tribute to my day at the library and the man whose name and spirit grace that building, which the staff has turned into a community center focused on books and reading. What could be better?