The Harry Belafonte Black Liberation Speaker Series: Charles Blow with Hilton Als

Tue. Feb 23, 2021 8:00pm - 9:00pm EST
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Event Description

The acclaimed columnist and political commentator delivers his manifesto, a call to action for Black Americans to amass political power and fight white supremacy.

The Devil You Know book cover“After centuries of waiting for white majorities to overturn white supremacy,” writes Charles Blow, “it seems to me that it has fallen to Black people to do it themselves.” Blow never wanted to write a “race book.” But as violence against Black people—both physical and psychological—seemed only to increase in recent years, culminating in the historic pandemic and protests of the summer of 2020, he felt compelled to write a new story for Black Americans. Blow envisions a counterintuitive but impassioned corrective to the myths that have for too long governed thinking about race and geography in America. Drawing on both political observations and personal experience as a Black son of the South, he sets out to offer a call to action by which Black people can finally achieve equality, on their own terms.

This event is produced in partnership with The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The Harry Belafonte Black Liberation Speaker Series is made possible thanks to support from Kenneth Cole.

LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the support of Library patrons and friends, as well as by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund.

Charles Blow © Beowulf SheehanCharles M. Blow is an acclaimed journalist and op-ed columnist for The New York Times who appears frequently on CNN. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones. He lives in Atlanta.

Hilton Als became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994 and a theater critic in 2002. He began contributing to the magazine in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town. Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for The Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. His first book, The Women, was published in 1996. His most recent book, White Girls, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Lambda Literary Award in 2014, discusses various narratives of race and gender. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2017.

If  you have an NYPL library card—or live in New York state and want to apply for one now—you can borrow The Devil You Know for free with our e-reader app SimplyE, available for iOS and Android devices. 

Readers who wish to purchase copies of The Devil You Know can do so at The Schomburg Shop. Proceeds benefit The New York Public Library.

This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided. 

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24 hours before the day of the program to Sara Beth Joren at

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Charles Blow photo © Beowulf Sheehan

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