Knox County Public Library is pleased to present Reverend Christopher R. Battle, Sr., Tabernacle Baptist Church and Chris Woodhull, former Knoxville City Councilman, for a discussion of “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates at noon on Wednesday, May 4 in the East Tennessee History Center auditorium, 601 South Gay Street, in this month’s Books Sandwiched In, a program series sponsored by the Friends of Knox County Public Library.
“This is a conversation with a son that every father should have,” Battle said.
“Between the World and Me” is a letter that Coates writes to his adolescent son about how to be black in America. Coates tells his son, “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” Pivoting from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, he offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and the current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion.
Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder.
In addition to his pastoral work, Pastor Battle has served as Director of Minority Resources at the Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary; as a Visiting Professor at the International Christian College of Manila; and as Adjunct Professor at several colleges, including his current position at the Knoxville International Bible Institute and Covington Theological Seminary. He earned a Master of Divinity Degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts Degree from Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary, and is presently a Doctor of Ministry Candidate at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He currently serves as the Moderator of the Knoxville Baptist District Association and as Vice President of the Knoxville Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. He is married to the former Julia Tomma Buckner and they have fifteen children.
Chris Woodhull has over 20 years of inner-city experience and was the founder of TRIBE ONE, an at-risk urban youth ministry in Knoxville, Tenn. He also served on the Knoxville City Council for eight years while leading five different public processes, one of which resulted in an Innovation in Government Award from the city. He is currently the director of creative development for the SoulCare Project in Chattanooga. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and has studied negotiation at Harvard Law School.
The series will continue on May 18 when the Honorable Pamela Reeves, United States District Court, will discuss “Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World” by Linda Hirshman. On June 22, Dr. Annette Mendola, UT Department of Philosophy, will discuss “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande. On July 27, Dr. Margaret Lazarus Dean, UT Department of English, will discuss her own book “Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight.”