National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” Kicks Off at Columbia College Chicago with “Views of Global Migration: Haiti”

national endowment for the arts “big read” kicks off at columbia college chicago with “views of global migration: haiti”Photo courtesy: National Endowment for the Arts.
Award-winning novel “Brother, I’m Dying” by Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat is the featured book for 2019.

CHICAGO—March 19, 2019. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) “Big Read” initiative, designed to “broaden our world through reading,” kicks-off at Columbia College Chicago on ­Thursday, March 21, at Columbia’s Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP), 600 S. Michigan Ave., from 6 - 8 p.m. The NEA Big Read is presented in partnership with Arts Midwest.

The event, “Views of Global Migration: Haiti,” features an historical perspective on Haitian migration by Mario LaMothe, assistant professor of African American Studies - Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago. LaMothe will use oral history and journalistic accounts to narrate Haitian immigrants’ physical transformation during their captivity in American detention facilities. The event coincides with the MoCP’s current exhibition Stateless: Views of Global Migration, which closes on March 31.

Columbia’s Library, the only Chicago institution awarded a 2018-19 NEA Big Read grant, received $15,000 for its selection Brother, I’m Dying, a 2007 award-winning memoir by Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat. The book chronicles the intergenerational sacrifices immigrants often make to create a better life in America for their families.

Danticat will give the NEA Big Read keynote address, “The American Dream Reconsidered” at Columbia on April 25, exploring the concept and meaning of the American Dream during the current political climate. Danticat will be interviewed at the event by Karen Richman, professor at the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame and author of Migration and Vodou. Danticat will also participate in the NEA Big Read community event “What Makes American Great: Immigration Policy and Chicago” on April 26. Both events will be at Columbia’s Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., from 6 - 9 p.m., and are free and open to the public.

Chicago was founded by the Haitian explorer Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable. Through the NEA Big Read, Columbia’s Library aims to engage audiences in dialogues about immigration policy, and the promise, opportunity, and challenges of living in the US.

The events are being presented in partnership with the Haitian Congress, Haitian Consulate General of Chicago, Haitian American Museum of Chicago, DuSable Heritage Association, Midwest Association of Haitian American Women, Haitian Nurses Association, Haitian Book Club, and Concerned Haitian Americans of Illinois. Other NEA Big Read events will take place in public libraries, public schools, and universities in the Chicago area throughout the month of April.

Events on campus are being supported in part by Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. More information about the NEA Big Read events is available at




Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit




Lambrini Lukidis
O: 312-369-8695 C: 616-808-7378