The New Jim Crow author’s talk tops off citywide discussions about the book

The New Jim CrowMichelle Alexander, author of New York Times bestseller The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, headlines an upcoming series of free weekly citywide book discussions—one of which is taking place on campus Sept. 25.

The citywide book discussions, which began Sept. 11, will culminate in a free, public talk and book signing by Alexander on Thursday, Oct. 25, at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, 8712 Quincy Ave. (Register at

The event, to raise awareness of social injustices, is a collaboration between Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, the Cleveland Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program (Cleveland UMADAOP), and Case Western Reserve University’s Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity, Social Justice Institute, and the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences Black Students Association.

At the center of Alexander’s message is how the U.S. prison system is creating a population of second-class citizens. Many African-Americans are “warehoused” in prison, she says, and return to society labeled as criminals or felons.

“It is a book that is sparking discussion about mass incarceration, prisons, race, and civil rights across the country. This is a particularly relevant and pressing issue in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, which historically and presently commits the highest percentage of people to prison than any other region in Ohio. We also have the largest number of returning citizens coming back to our communities in the state,” said Case Western Reserve historian Rhonda Y. Williams, who is also founder and director of the university’s Social Justice Institute.

The free, public Community Book Discussion Series is scheduled for:

Sept. 25:  Chapter 3, “The Color of Justice,” Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Ground Floor, Crawford Hall, 10900 Euclid Ave., on the campus of Case Western Reserve University, 6 – 8 p.m., and facilitated by G.  Regina Nixon.

Oct. 2:  Chapter 4, “The Cruel Hand,” Fatima Family Center, 6600 Lexington Ave., Cleveland, noon – 3 p.m., and facilitated by Charles See.

Oct. 9: Chapter 5, “The New Jim Crow,” American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, 4506 Chester Ave., Cleveland, 6 – 8 p.m., and facilitated by Shakyra Diaz.

Oct. 16: Chapter 6, “The Fire This Time,” Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center, 9300 Quincy Ave., Cleveland, 6 – 8 p.m. and facilitated by Michael Walker.

Oct. 25:  Michelle Alexander’s public lecture, “The New Jim Crow,” at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, 8712 Quincy Ave., with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the Q&A moderated by Rhonda Y. Williams.

The book will be on sale for $17 during the book club discussions, as well as at the public lecture. For more information, call Rev. Leah Lewis at 216.721.3585.