On July 27 a group of about 12 patrons got to join Ms. Davis on a virtual discussion about her book, her writing process, and more. Ms. Davis is the author of The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life by the Detroit Numbers. The discussion started with some background on Ms. Davis, and more information about her book, and her writing process. After a brief presentation Ms. Davis took questions from the group and the discussion was very interesting. We discussed topics like online betting and how it affects the Black Community, as well as relating current loosening of regulations on Marijuana and the proliferation of dispensaries to the take over of the Numbers game into the Lottery. The numbers was a Black run game before the state took it over and it became the Lottery that we know now. And while Marijuana laws are changing, there are still a lot of Black Americans who have been disproportionately incarcerated and negatively affected legally by the Marijuana laws, and now the state (through taxation) is starting to benefit from the sale and use of Marijuana, much like the take over of The Numbers.
Another very interesting discussion was about how an author can tell his or her story without fearing the reactions from those close to them. This was discussed in reference to the book in part because Ms. Davis had to keep her mother's Numbers game secret for fear of her mother getting in trouble with the law. Even once it was "safe" to tell her mother's story, it was still hard for her to get past that feeling of needing to keep it a secret. It can be hard for an author to be authentic to his or herself, while also still protecting the family members, friends, and others that might be featured in a story. The group discussed this briefly, and in the end Ms. Davis said that you have to be authentic to yourself in your storytelling.
The Benton Harbor Public Library would like to thank Ms. Davis for her time and for being such a wonderful guest. This event was made possibly due to a grant from the American Library Association.
If you would like to read more about The Numbers, please check out this article from the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/27/nyregion/numbers-harlem-new-york-lottery.html .