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Best of the National Book Festival: Race in America, 2019

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Welcome to our ongoing celebration of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Each weekday, we will feature a video presentation from among the thousands of authors who have appeared at the National Book Festival and as part of our new year-long series, National Book Festival Presents. Mondays will feature topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literary fiction; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir; Thursday: popular fiction; and Friday: authors who write for children and teens. Please enjoy, and make sure to explore our full National Book Festival video collection!

“Race in America” was the subject of a discussion among Henry Louis Gates Jr., Judge Richard Gergel and Steve Luxenberg on the Understanding Our World stage of the 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival. Gates discussed “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy and the Rise of Jim Crow,” Judge Richard Gergel discussed “Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring” and Steve Luxenberg discussed “Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation.” Eric Deggans, NPR’s television critic, moderated. Q&A begins at 34:05.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will celebrate its 20th birthday this year. You can get up-to-the-minute news, schedule updates and other important festival information by subscribing to this blog. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.


  1. This was a fantastic discussion and, in response to the social science teachers who pointed out the shortcomings of our education system in regard to a lack of discussions about historical racism, I think this discussion today should be required watching in such classes all around the country!

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