Nov. 9, at 1 p.m., the former first lady will be joined by “black-ish” actor Yara Shahidi to have a livestream conversation. This conversation will include students from 22 schools across the country, including Cal Poly Pomona and Prince George’s Community College in Largo (Maryland), where Obama will speak.
BET will televise this event at a later date to be determined.
Obama released a Monday statement saying that he was eager to hear from students as they navigate their lives and studies during this extraordinary time.
“As a first generation college student, I recall my struggles to manage classes and find my place on campus. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be to do this during a pandemic when everything feels so up in the air. I hope they understand that fear and self-doubt are normal. But if you embrace them, if you own your stories and use your voice, we can share the best parts of yourself with the rest of the world.
Crown will donate 100 copies of the Nov. 9 event to each school in the Maryland Community College Consortium.
Drake stated, “We know that the book has been profoundly impactful for young people, particularly young women, so it has become a kind ode to touchstone.”
Obama’s book, which was published in 2018, has been sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. and continues to be in high demand, with an average of 2,000 copies per week, according Crown president David Drake. After the initial publicity, most political memoirs, including those by presidents and first ladies, are forgotten. Obama’s book was assigned to many colleges, including Fresno City College and Ohio State University. The courses covered composition and Black women’s studies.
Julie Gallagher, Penn State Brandywine’s associate professor of history, included the book into her course on civil rights and the modern age. While civil rights narratives tend to focus on the South in most cases, Obama was raised in Chicago and told a Northern story. Gallagher also found Obama’s memoir a refreshing contrast to the portrayal of Black women in media.
She said, “Here’s a woman who comes from strong and loving families.” “This is a story about love, determination and grit. It’s a story of multiple generations striving for the American dream.
The University of California, Irvine included “Becoming,” in its 2020 “Great Big Read” for students and faculty. Marguerite BonousHammarth, assistant vice chancellor at the school for equity, diversity, and inclusion, stated to The Associated Press that the themes included self-identity and patriotism as well as relationships with significant others and their families. She also suggested questions about roles and ways to avoid the effects of discrimination in society.
Crown published a young readers edition earlier this year for children 10 years and older. Obama will promote it at the National Council of Teachers of English convention in November 18. She will give the keynote address, and she will also speak with Valerie Kinloch (the vice president of NCTE), the first Black woman to be dean of University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education.