Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven—but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
March Book Club Discussion
Please join us on
Wednesday March 20 at 10:00 a.m.
for a discussion of
Thunder Dog: The true story of a blind man, his guide dog, & the triumph of trust at Ground Zero
By Michael Hingson
The F Street door will be open at 9:45 that morning.
Everyone is welcome!
Bring your own copy of the book, or check one out from the library!
I trust Roselle with my life, every day. She trusts me to direct her. And today is no different, except the stakes are higher. Michael Hingson
First came the boom the loud, deep, unapologetic bellow that seemed to erupt from the very core of the earth. Eerily, the majestic high-rise slowly leaned to the south. On the seventy-eighth floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower, no alarms sounded, and no one had information about what had happened at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001. What should have been a normal workday for thousands of people. All that was known to the people inside was what they could see out the windows: smoke and fire and millions of pieces of burning paper and other debris falling through the air.
Blind since birth, Michael couldn’t see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and his guide dog, Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselle’s judgment and not to panic. They are a team.
Thunder Dog allows you entry into the isolated, fume-filled chamber of stairwell B to experience survival through the eyes of a blind man and his beloved guide dog. Live each moment from the second a Boeing 767 hits the north tower, to the harrowing stairwell escape, to dodging death a second time as both towers fold into the earth.
It’s the 9/11 story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective. Thunder Dog illuminates Hingson’s lifelong determination to achieve parity in a sighted world, and how the rare trust between a man and his guide dog can inspire an unshakable faith in each one of us.