The WDET Book Club is a multi-platform project that includes on-air, in person and online interaction with the Detroit Community. For the past three summers, WDET listeners read a book together and the station leads a community discussion about the challenging societal issues we face which the selected book tees up. We produce weekly radio segments that relate to the content with listener call-ins on our one-hour daily program Detroit Today. On the WDET Book Club Facebook page, listeners interact with staff and one another about the book. Pre-COVID, we held events at libraries throughout the region attended by more than 500 people each year, and this year moved them to Zoom.
Hosted by Pulitzer Prize winning commentator and Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson, the WDET Book Club encourages everyone in the Detroit region to participate in reading and discussing this novel about race and identity. WDET’s Detroit Today will discuss the book weekly and feature authors, experts and advocates exploring the impact the book has had over the better part of the last century, as well as its relevance today. Detroit Today will delve into real experiences of institutionalized racism including its impact on issues of individuality and personal identity.
WDET’s book club topics include the history of race relations in the United States, inherent biases in the judicial system, law enforcement and institutional racism and how to identify and correct it. The conversation will continue on the WDET Book Club Facebook page and we invite experts, authors and academics to join the conversation with readers. We also provide historical context, looking at and discussing music and photographs of the time. For example, we discussed Louis Armstrong’s (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue and the connections between the book and jazz. Other sessions allowed listeners to delve into the Booker T. Washington Statue at The Tuskegee Institute and photographs of Harlem in the 1940s. We use music, art and photography to deepen the discussion .