BLT: Books & Lunch on Tuesdays

Tuesday, July 12th
by Kaitlyn Greenidge

This program is hybrid. We will meet in the library, but you may also attend via Zoom. Email Mike Morris at for an invitation or more information.

BLT meets on the second Tuesday of each month at noon. Bring your lunch and a healthy appetite for good discussion.

Few novels have as strong a sense of place as this fascinating blend of magical realism and African American historical fiction by the author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman (2016). Set just before and after the Civil War, Libertie recounts the coming-of-age of the title character, a free Black girl in New York whose widowed mother is a coolly independent homeopathic doctor and community leader. Libertie grows up with a strong sense of female power, in awe of her mother’s gifts but uncertain of her own path. In spite of her considerable talent, she resists following her mother into medicine; the subsequent break in their relationship and Libertie’s headlong plunge into a new life in Haiti lead to heartbreak for them both. Greenidge succeeds beautifully at presenting the complexities of an intense mother-daughter bond, with its blend of unrealistic expectations, disappointments, and betrayals. At the same time, the historical context of traumatized escaped enslaved people, race riots, colorism, and conflicting visions on how to achieve Black freedom (stay in the U.S. and fight or build an all-Black civilization abroad?) weaves the story of one family into the larger tragedy of the African diaspora. Greenidge creates a richly layered tapestry of Black communal life, notably Black female life, and the inevitable contradictions and compromises of “freedom.” - Booklist (starred review)

Where: Howe Library
Room: Mayer Room
Time: 12:00 - 1:00