Bedrock Faith: One Book, One Chicago 2021

Bedrock Faith by Eric Charles May was the 32nd selection for One Book, One Chicago. The season’s program explored the theme "Beyond Borders." From September through December 2021, we explored the theme from multiple perspectives, as recounted through personal experience, imagined in literature, presented in politics, or synthesized in music and art.

Eric Charles May is a native Morgan Park resident and professor at Columbia College Chicago who writes lovingly about a Chicago neighborhood that will seem familiar to many. May’s 2014 debut novel begins as Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves’s returns to his close-knit, Black, and middle-class community on Chicago’s South Side after fourteen years in prison. The Parkland community is hesitant to accept him apart from his widowed and retired next-door neighbor, Mrs. Motley, who lends him a Bible as a welcoming gesture. Beneath escalating conflicts between community members lies the heart of the story: how people come together to create a community, develop deep connections, and provide a communal system of support, forgiveness, and understanding. 

This season explored theme of community, history, support systems, and who tells our stories. 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of One Book, One Chicago. For two decades, Chicagoans have come together over books from across genres to unite over common themes and connect with one another. In 2021, connection with our neighbors was more important than ever before, and CPL was thrilled to feature a local author and programs that reflect this need for closeness. 

Virtual programs including discussions, recommended reading lists, digital content, author panels and web TV series were available regularly from September through December to explore Bedrock Faith and our theme. Highlights included:

  • Keynote program: Author Eric Charles May in conversation with Booklist's Donna Seaman 
  • South Side Home Movie Project: An introduction to this unique initiative to collect, preserve, digitize and exhibit amateur films from Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods
  • The Art of Storytelling Learning Circles: How would you tell the story of your community? Workshops to strengthen storytelling and writing skills
  • Neighborhood Tours: Explorring some of Chicago's notable neighborhoods with virtual tours on Facebook and Youtube
  • Book clubs and discussion groups citywide

This page was last updated on September 2, 2022.

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