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Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Diana Friend
Communications & Marketing Director
785-554-5334 (cell) | 785-580-4486 (office)
2 Virtual Author Events Share Insights into Black History & Racial Equity
(TOPEKA) The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is hosting virtual author visits from authors of racial justice books on January 28 and February 9. Ben Montgomery will launch his new book "A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South" on January 28 from 7 to 8 p.m. on Zoom. On February 9, Dr. Frederick W. Gooding Jr. will discuss his book "Black Oscars: From Mammy to Minny, What the Academy Awards Tell Us About African Americans" on Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m. Registration at is required to receive the Zoom links.

“I'm looking forward to hosting conversations with two authors who have written important, timely work about race,” said Readers Librarian Miranda Ericsson. “Montgomery's book shares a story nearly lost to history. Goodwin shows readers how to recognize racial patterns and be more aware of the ideas they consume through pop culture. Interacting with authors gives us a chance to engage more deeply with what we read, and often gives us a peek behind the curtain into the writing and research process. Readers have an opportunity to clear up questions or share insights with the author, and everyone attending benefits from the back and forth.”

Montgomery's book "A Shot in the Moonlight" is the true story of freed slave George Dinning who in 1899 became the first Black man in America to win damages after a wrongful murder conviction with the help of a Confederate war hero turned lawyer, Bennett H. Young. Dinning's great-grandson Anthony Denning Sr. will join Montgomery for a conversation during this event on Thursday, January 28. Montgomery is a journalist, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of four books including the New York Times bestseller "Grandma Gatewood's Walk."
Gooding analyzed decades of Oscar nominations and winners for his book "Black Oscars." For more than 90 years, Oscar winners have been considered the standard bearers of all things imaginable within American culture. Given the Oscars’ presence and popularity, it begs the question of what do these awards reflect and reinforce about larger society, particularly when it comes to the public participation of African Americans. On Tuesday, February 9, Gooding will discuss how the Oscars are an indispensable guide to understanding race in mainstream Hollywood. 

Gooding is an assistant professor at Texas Christian University and the author of several books including "You Mean, There’s RACE in My Movie? The Complete Guide to Understanding Race in Mainstream Hollywood" and "American Dream Deferred: Black Federal Workers in Washington, D.C. 1941-1981." A trained historian, Gooding most effectively analyzes contemporary mainstream media with a careful eye for persistent patterns along racial lines that appear benign but indeed have problematic historical roots.

For a complete list of library events visit The library is continually adding new events to connect our community, provide entertainment, support early childhood development and literacy, and support civic engagement. 


About the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
In 2020 the library celebrates its 150th anniversary by highlighting the library’s role in connecting our community through literacy and learning in the past, present and future. The library’s core values of excellence, curiosity, literacy, freedom, teamwork and accountability contribute to our longevity. The Library Foundation and Friends of the Library share in this celebration as do our media partners WIBW TV and Kansas Public Radio.

Copyright © 2021 Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, All rights reserved.

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