Join author Bill Campbell and illustrator Bizhan Khodabandeh for a discussion of their new book The Day the Klan Came to Town moderated by Grace
Join author Bill Campbell and illustrator Bizhan Khodabandeh for a discussion of their new book The Day the Klan Came to Town moderated by Grace D. Gipson on Thursday,
About the book:
The year is 1923. The Ku Klux Klan is at the height of its power in the US as membership swells into the millions and they expand beyond their original southern borders. As they continue their campaigns of terror against African Americans, their targets now also include Catholics and Jews, southern and eastern Europeans, all in the name of “white supremacy.” Incorporating messages of moral decency, family values, and temperance, the Klan has slapped on a thin veneer of respectability and become a “civic organization,” attracting new members, law enforcement, and politicians to their particular brand of white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant “Americanism.”
Pennsylvania enthusiastically joined that wave. That was when the Grand Dragon of Pennsylvania decided to display the Klan’s newfound power in a show of force. He chose a small town outside of Pittsburgh named after Andrew Carnegie, a small, unassuming borough full of Catholics and Jews, the perfect place to teach immigrants a “lesson.” Some thirty thousand members of the Klan gathered from as far as Kentucky for “Karnegie Day.” After initiating new members, they armed themselves with torches and guns to descend upon the town to show them exactly what Americanism was all about.
The Day the Klan Came to Town is a fictionalized retelling of the riot, focusing on a Sicilian immigrant, Primo Salerno. He is not a leader; he’s a man with a troubled past. He was pulled from the sulfur mines of Sicily as a teen to fight in the First World War. Afterward, he became the focus of a local fascist and was forced to emigrate to the United States. He doesn’t want to fight but feels that he may have no choice. The entire town needs him—and indeed everybody—to make a stand.
Bill Campbell is the author of Sunshine Patriots; My Booty Novel; Pop Culture: Politics, Puns, “Poohbutt” from a Liberal Stay-at-Home Dad; Koontown Killing Kaper; and Baaaad Muthaz. Along with Edward Austin Hall, he coedited the groundbreaking anthology, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. He has also coedited Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany; APB: Artists against Police Brutality (for which he won a Glyph Pioneer/Lifetime Achievement Award); and Future Fiction: New Dimensions of International Fantasy and Science Fiction. His latest anthology is a two-volume collection with over one hundred science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories from around the world, Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Campbell lives in Washington, DC, where he spends his time with his family and helms Rosarium Publishing.
Bizhan Khodabandeh is a visual communicator who moves freely across the professional boundaries as designer, illustrator, artist, and activist. His works vary from small graphic art projects to major public campaigns. Khodabandeh is particularly fascinated by how art and design can catalyze social change. He has received numerous international and national awards for his work, including: a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, a silver medal from the International Design Awards, a finalist in the Cross-Cultural Design Competition, and best in show through the American Institute of Graphic Arts. He has received numerous international and national awards for his work as both an illustration and designer through various institutions such as: The American Institute of Graphic Arts, Creativity International, Adbusters, and Creative Quarterly. Khodabandeh has had work featured in publications such as Print, Creativity International, Adbusters, and Comic Bastards among others. Currently Khodabandeh teaches full-time at VCU’s Robertson School of Media & Culture and freelances under the name, Mended Arrow.
(Thursday) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
James Branch Cabell Library
Room 303, 901 Park Ave., Richmond, Va. 23219