DBRL Programs

First Thursday Book Discussion
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

Bring a brown bag lunch and join us to discuss “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest Gaines. Set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, Gaines explores the ethnic complexity of the Cajun region, the liberating and repressive aspects of African-American religion and the meaning of "black manhood." Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot-out that kills three. The only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting, and defying, expectations.

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