Monday: How Baldwin's 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Is Bringing A Campus Community Together | St. Louis Public Radio

Monday: How Baldwin's 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Is Bringing A Campus Community Together

Oct 17, 2019

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This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” at noon Monday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

Shortly after Andrew Kersten joined the University of Missouri-St. Louis last year as its dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he and a group of colleagues put out a campus survey listing about 20 different books. “Which book should we choose for the UMSL Common Read?” they wanted to know.

Before long, as Kersten remembers it, one particular novel rose to the top among the 300 responses to the survey: James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And from there, what he and others thought would amount to a public lecture and a few classes “took off like wildfire.” More than 50 faculty members opted to incorporate the book into their courses this fall.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske will talk with Kersten and with Associate Professor of History Priscilla Dowden-White about how Baldwin’s 1974 novel about Tish and Fonny is resonating across campus and the broader St. Louis community, decades after it was written. The conversation will also include the perspectives of several UMSL students and faculty members.

Related Events
What: Common Read Lecture: Radical Love in James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk”
When: 2 p.m. Thursday, October 24, 2019
Where: J.C. Penney Auditorium at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (1 University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121)

What: Film Screening
When: 2 p.m. Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Where: J.C. Penney Auditorium at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (1 University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121)

Have you ever read “If Beale Street Could Talk”? What was your main takeaway from the story? Tweet us (@STLonAir), send an email to talk@stlpublicradio.orgor share your thoughts via our St. Louis on the Air Facebook group, and help inform our coverage.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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