I’ll Take You There: One Book, One Chicago 2017-2018

I'll Take You There by Greg Kot was the 28th selection for One Book, One Chicago. The season’s program explored the theme Music: The Beat of Our City.

From October 2017 through April 2018, we explored the theme from multiple perspectives, as recounted through personal experience, imagined in literature, presented in politics, or synthesized in music and art.

I'll Take You There  is the untold story of living legend Mavis Staples—lead singer of the Staple Singers and a major figure in the music that shaped the civil rights era. Honing her prodigious talent on the Southern gospel circuit of the 1950s, Mavis and the Staple Singers went on to sell more than 30 million records, with message-oriented soul music that became a soundtrack to the civil rights movement—inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.


The 2017-2018 One Book, One Chicago season featured a variety of events at Harold Washington Library Center, neighborhood library branches, and partner locations, as well as online digital programming.

Mainstage programs at Harold Washington Library Center included:

  • Season Keynote: A Conversation with Greg Kot and Mavis Staples
  • Musical performances including: Jazz Concert featuring Grazyna Auguścik and Marlena Dziś, Operatic Book Club: Mignon, Kate Kayian: Mid 20th Century Sonatas on Cello, A Musical Tour of Poland from a Land of Old Souls with Mazurka Wojciechowska, Classical Pianist Liana Paniyeva, G.S. & A Bundle of Sticks, Bryan Young, Soorya Dance School, Lou Della Evans-Reid's Traditional Gospel Choir, Alloy Horn Quartet, Utkalaa Dance School, Dr. Charles Joseph Smith, Joseph Rubin, Old Town School of Folk Music Sing-A-Long with Andrea Bunch and Mary Peterson
  • Latino Music Festival performances with KAIA String Quartet, Flamenco Soundscapes and Ensemble Lipzodes
  • Author events including: The Secret History of Chicago Music with Steven Krakow, Traveling Sou: The Life of Curtis Mayfield with Todd Mayfield, Glenn Miller Declassified with Dennis M. Spragg
  • Film Screening: Mavis!
  • Panel discussions on Women, Music & Sexism and Perspectives on Queercore: Fed Up Punks
  • An interactive collection exhibit with The Art Institute of Chicago 

Additional small group programs at Harold Washington Library Center included:

  • TEDxHaroldWashingtonLibraryCenter: Music
  • Learning Circles: Music for Wellness, Intro to the Music Business, How Music Can Change Your Life
  • Maker Lab classes including: Make a Speaker Amplifier for your Smartphone, Make a Record Shopping Tote, Make a Music Inspired Pin, Make a Set of Guitar Picks, Sound Creation with Piezo, Make a Melody Online, An Introduction to Transducers 

CPL neighborhood branch programs included:

  • Neighborhood walking tours including: Dance Bands, Society Orchestras & More; Classical Gatherings and Other Musical Moments; Jazz Clubs and Other Pursuits; Make a Joyful Noise: A Walk Through Gospel History; Bright Lights, Big Uptown; Lincoln Park After Dark
  • Musical programs including: A New Day: How Chicago Helped Craft a New National Black Identity with Ayana Contreras; Duane Powell’s Soundrotation Session; An Evening with Blues Legend Holle Thee Maxwell; Cantonese Opera - Chinese New Year Blessing; Joan Collaso Performs A Tribute To Women In Jazz; Local Women & Gospel: Stories and Artifacts from the Harsh Research Collection; Dziadonki Folk Band Family Concert; Wood, Bone and Steel (Billy Brickey & Taylor) presents Chicago’s Musical History; Sing-A-Long: Voice of the People Special Edition with Old Town School of Folk Music teaching artists, The Music Teachers of Hyde Park Artist Series; Punk Rock and Donuts featuring C.H.E.W.; Punk Rock and Donuts featuring Hymen Moments and Gas Mask Horse; A Celebration of American Roots & Popular Music with Ron and Rachel; Blue Ribbon Glee Club; The Little Ol Korea Choir; Hokule’a Academy of Polynesia Arts; A Colorful Tribute To Black Music; Mariachi Tradicion Juvenil; WDCB Jazz – Jammin’ in the Stacks with Thaddeus Tukes and Friends; Jesse Tapia & His Windsome Quintet; Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Marimba Ensemble; A Musical Tour of Poland from a Land of Old Souls with Mazurka Wojciechowska; Gronik Polish Highlander Children's Folkloric Ensemble; Dziadonki: The All-Female Polish Folk Band; Let's Polka with Eddie Korosa Jr and the Boys from Illinois; Mexican Folkloric Dance with CICA
  • Interactive workshops including: Rap & Poetry with Roy Kinsey, Korean Drumming Workshop with The Global Pungmul Institute, Music Game Drop in Day, Introduction to Zumba with Liz Guerrero
  • Film screenings including: Mavis!, The Last Waltz, Higher Ground, Coal Miner's Daughter, Bound for Glory, Presenting Princess Shaw, Only the Strong Survive, The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story
  • Lectures including: A Tale of Chicago Told in Ten Songs, Listening Together: How Chicagoans Experience Music, Author Robert Marovich on Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music, The Power of Gospel and Spirituals on Twentieth Century Compositions: From Classical Piano to Music of the Staple Singers, Chicago's Musical Instrument Manufacturing History, CHIRP Radio Music of Chicago Listening Party and Discussion

Community partner programming included:

Art Exhibits

Art exhibits included:

Digital Programming

In addition to events, the season featured several innovative digital programs including:

Further Reading

Check out some of our further reading recommendations:


The 2017-2018 One Book, One Chicago was presented by the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Library Foundation and sponsors The Chicago Community Trust, BMO Harris and United.

Content last updated: April 30, 2018

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