Stories indexed with the term ‘reading’

What Makes Life Worth Living?

George Dawson packed a lot of living into his 105 years, but it wasn’t until he learned to read and write at the age of 98 that he realized two longtime dreams: reading the Bible and writing his name.

Karessa Dawson Lang

Karessa Dawson Lang talks to reading students at the Family Learning Institute last Saturday about her grandfather, George Dawson, who learned to read at age 98. (Photo by the writer.)

Last Saturday, at Ann Arbor’s Family Learning Institute, Dawson’s granddaughter, Karessa Dawson Lang spoke to a group of reading students about her grandfather.

She told them he’d said, ”People have read the Bible to me all my life, but I wanted to read it for myself.” When he was finally able to read the Bible for himself, Lang told the children, “For him, that was the greatest accomplishment of all time. Besides writing his name. Which was huge.”

The visit to FLI was part of two days of activities for Lang and her sister, Mashelle Dawson, involving their late grandfather’s 2000 autobiography, “Life Is So Good,” the featured book of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads. The two flew up to Ann Arbor from Texas last week.

Launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences & Society Program and now co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti district libraries, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads promotes reading and civic dialogue through reading and discussing a common book. The program’s theme this year is “What Makes Life Worth Living?” [Full Story]

Open Letter 2: A Nicaraguan Interlude

Karl Pohrt

Sandy Iran Canales, Rev. Bayardo Lopez Garcia and Karl Pohrt in Catarina, Nicaragua. Pohrt was part of a delegation that traveled to Catarina to celebrate the wedding anniversary and ministry of Rev. Garcia, Padre of the Church of the Remnant.

In the midst of all the sturm und drang surrounding the future of Shaman Drum Bookshop, I went to Nicaragua.

Dianne, my wife, had been teaching for the last month in Catarina, a town in the mountains south of Managua. She volunteered under the auspices of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, a small congregation in Ann Arbor of which we are both members. ECI is collaborating with the Iglesia Bautista Remanente, a Baptist church in Catarina, on projects that “will bridge the divide between wealth and impoverished countries by providing capital, employment and opportunities for cultural exchange.”

Joe Summers, our minister, is an old friend of mine – we worked together in the bookshop years ago – and ECI is an openhearted, diverse community that is serious about creating a better world. Although I’ve been mostly engaged with Buddhism in my adult life, I was attracted to this church because of the willingness of Joe and the congregation to struggle together around difficult issues. And I still enjoy a good sermon.

I hadn’t had much of a chance to talk with Dianne about the state of the bookshop given that our telephone and internet connections were short and infrequent. The experience teaching in Catarina was transformative and very positive for her, but living conditions were difficult. She asked me to come. I traded my frequent flyer miles for a ticket to Nicaragua. [Full Story]

Ayers and Dohrn at Hatcher Library

Bill Ayers Ann Arbor

Right to left (counterclockwise) Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Julie Herrada, Scott Westerman.

On Monday evening at the University of Michigan’s Hatcher Graduate Library, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn addressed the 300-400 people who had packed into the space, answered written questions and signed copies of their new book, “Race Course: Against White Supremacy.”

Ayers had gained renewed notoriety during the presidential campaign, through the speculation about a connection between Ayers and then presidential hopeful Barack Obama. When Republican candidate for vice-president Sarah Palin spoke of Obama “palling around with terrorists,” Ayers was the guy she meant – Ayers was a member of the radical 1960s group the Weather Underground. (Ayers rejected the label “terrorist” on Monday.)

Although it was Ayers and Dohrn who headlined the event, the story that The Chronicle found was in the people who attended, many of whom were linked in somewhat unpredictable ways. [Full Story]