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Original Sin: America and the Legacy of Slavery

Sat, Nov 5, 2016 from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
1037 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97205

The authors of two recent novels which directly confront the institution and legacy of the slave trade discuss their work. Yaa Gyasi’s debut Homegoing follows the generations of a family separated when one half-sister is sold into slavery, and one is married to a British slaver in Ghana. Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad reimagines the freedom trail as a literal subterranean train, as Cora escapes from a Georgia plantation and embarks on a journey toward freedom in the antebellum American South. Moderated by Rukaiyah Adams.

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Yaa Gyasi

Author of the critically acclaimed, New York Times best-selling debut novel Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in Oakland, California.
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Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is a novelist, essayist, and reviewer whose most recent works include 2019’s The Nickel Boys and 2016’s The Underground Railroad, a New York Times best seller which won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review. NPR hailed The Underground Railroad as “an American masterpiece, as much a searing document of a cruel history as a uniquely brilliant work of fiction.” Whitehead’s other books include The Noble Hustle, Zone OneSag HarborThe IntuitionistJohn Henry DaysApex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
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Rukaiyah Adams

Rukaiyah Adams is an avid reader and lover of American History. For work, she is the Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust. She is responsible for leading all investment activities to ensure the long-term financial strength of the organization, including investment policy, asset allocation, performance measurement, manager selection, and risk management. Before joining Meyer, she ran the $6.5 Billion capital markets fund at The Standard. Rukaiyah is the Vice Chair of the Oregon Investment Council, the board that manages approximately $90 Billion for the State of Oregon and PERS; she also serves on the board of OPB. Rukaiyah holds a BA in African American Studies with academic distinction from Carleton College and a JD from Stanford Law, where she was on the Law and Policy Review and the Co-President of the Law Student Association. She also has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
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