Latest “Burden” chat at Kalamazoo’s amazing “Book Bug” digs deep

KALAMAZOO _ Like the dozens of special moments during my 40 conversations since February about my book, “The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery,” there were plenty at my Wednesday night appearance at the Book Bug. This place is amazing and features movable bookshelves, clean open space and a coffee bar. I am so in love with, I plan to go back for vacation. You have to see it for yourself.  But back to the conversation, which was poignant and open and earthy. My thanks to bug owners/proprieters Joanna Parzakonis, Derek Molitor and Nicole Butz for a wonderful, heartfelt evening. I forgot to take a photo with them but will post one when I go back again. I do have one of Joanna hugging a judge and Sidney B. Williams, a 1954 graduate of Little Rock’s Dunbar High School. He and I had an interesting exchange about what the Brown vs. (Topeka, Kan.) Board of Education Supreme Court decision really did. I felt that America should not have tried to desegregate itself on the backs of children and the experiment ultimately failed. He saw my point but disagreed, saying that ending an unconstitutional system was necessary.  He was right on that point. But ultimately, we appear to be back where we were 64 years ago. We still have much work to do – for our children and for our country. And the conversations continue. If you want to have one where you are, just send an email to


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