For the Ann Thomas Memorial Lecture (also dedicated in 2023 to Wheeling educator Eileen Miller) Lunch With Books is honored to host Michelle Duster, an author, speaker, public historian, professor, and champion of racial and gender equity.
Michelle is the great-granddaughter of Civil Rights pioneer, journalist, and suffragist, Ida B. Wells.
She has written, edited, or contributed to several dozen articles and over 20 books, including IDA B THE QUEEN: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE AND LEGACY OF IDA B WELLS.
Her presentation is called: Separate and Unequal Education: From Ida B. Wells’ Time to the Present African Americans have faced barriers in obtaining equal educational resources from the end of the Civil War until the present. Michelle Duster’s paternal great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells, was formally educated and worked as a teacher in separate and unequal schools. She exposed the inequality and lost her job. Expanding on her article, “My great-grandmother Ida B. Wells left a legacy of activism in education. We need that now”, Michelle will discuss the realities that African Americans have faced in their quest for education, why they built their own institutions, and how equality is still elusive.
In addition to being in-person in the Library auditorium, this program will be available to watch live on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page. Log into your Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave questions for our presenters in the comments box. They will answer them during the live broadcast.
Tuesday | 2022 at noon
Michelle Duster co-wrote the popular children’s history book, Tate and His Historic Dream; co-edited Impact: Personal Portraits of Activism; Shifts: An Anthology of Women's Growth Through Change; Michelle Obama’s Impact on African American Women and Girls; and edited two books that include the writings of her paternal great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells. She has contributed to several anthologies and written articles for Ms. Magazine,TIME, Essence, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, The Hill, Daily Beast, and The North Star. She also was involved in the development of the Ida B. Wells doll, released January 2022, which is part of Mattel's Inspiring Women Barbie doll series. She has appeared on television programs on MSNBC, CNN, WTTW, CBS & CW as well as numerous radio shows.
Her advocacy has led to multiple public history projects that include street names, monuments, historical markers, murals, and documentary films that highlight women and African Americans, including Wells.
Her many awards include the 2022 Ripple Effect Award from Public Narratives, 2019 Multi-Generational Activist Award from the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award from Dartmouth College.
She is a native Chicagoan who earned her B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College, and M.A. in Media Studies from The New School in New York City. She also completed MFA coursework in film and video production at Columbia College Chicago, As a creative outlet, Michelle makes beaded jewelry.
Learn more about Ann Thomas
Learn more about Eileen Miller
Learn about the Library's Civic Empathy Through History Project
FEATURED BOOK: Ida B. The Queen : The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells
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"Lunch With Books" is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. These lunchtime programs feature authors, poets, musicians, historians, and more every Tuesday at noon. Bring lunch (to the Library Auditorium or your computer), feed your brain!
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