Living Through 1919

As a One Book text, 1919 presents important opportunities. First, it opens up discussions of race and history following an explosive summer of violence and protests against injustice. Second, as we approach the 2020 presidential election, debates about equity and opportunity in America have become more potent. Third, it brings us back to discussions of local history which is something that the One Book program has not explored. Finally, the One Book program has never used a book of poetry as its primary text. Together, these factors open up a valuable dialog with many areas of the MVCC curriculum. 


Race & Equity 

Given that diversity, inclusion, and equity are among Moraine Valley’s strategic priorities, discussions on the relationship between race, class, and economics will be important. The underlying history is important to understanding the current situation of the south west suburbs and the larger region. This also opens up discussions related to social justice. 

Memory & The Making of History

The 1919 Chicago riots and the Red Summer as a whole are left out of many history books. This presents an opportunity to discuss how history is made and what is left behind. 

Identity & Politics 

As America is increasingly polarized, Ewing’s book brings us into the conversation about how identity has been central to American political life for many decades. This is a chance to discuss the  sociology and psychology of identify and how that translates to public life. 

Chicago History

Chicago has been a major actor in United States and World history. Agriculture, industrialization, transportation, technology, and politics all intersect with Chicago. With the centennial of the 1919 riots, the Newberry Library and 13 other historical institutions put together the resource site through NEH funding. This site will provide support and resources for students and faculty. 


In terms of writing, poetry is the oldest forms of communication. Ewing’s book provides a chance to celebrate poets and poetry.

About the One Book Program 

For thousands of years, humans have used stories to communicate knowledge about the world. Stories provide contexts for our understanding of facts, emotions, discoveries, history, relationships, and all kinds of human interaction. For this reason, the Moraine Valley Library and the Moraine Valley Bookstore invite all members of the community to come together to discuss a selected story in the One Book, One College program. Join us as we share knowledge across disciplines, exchange new ideas on useful topics, and enrich our curriculum in new ways. For more information, contact us at (708) 974-5709 or swanson[at}


  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (2004)
  • Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightTime (2005-2006)
  • George Orwell’s 1984 (2006-2007)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told to Alex Haley (2007-2008)
  • Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land (2008-2009)
  • Studs Terkel's Working (2009-2010)
  • Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010-2011)
  • Roxanna Saberi's Between Two Worlds (2011-2012)
  • Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War (2012-2013)
  • Max Brooks’ World War Z: The Oral History of the Zombie War (2013-2014)
  • Jame Baldwin's Giovanni's Room (2014-2015)
  • José Angel N.'s Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant (2015-2016)
  • LIn-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton: the Musical (2016-2017)
  • Andea L. Pino & Annie E. Clark, We Believe You; Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out (2017- 2018)
  • G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel: No Normal, (2018-2019)
  • Isaac Asimov's I, Robot (2019-2020)