The Underground Railroad Advance Screening

Charnice Milton Community Bookstore is thrilled to partner with Amazon Prime Video to host a special advance virtual screening and panel discussion of Academy-Award winning director Barry Jenkins’ upcoming Amazon Original limited series, The Underground Railroad, an adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel. Virtual screening/discussion is May 13, 7 p.m. ET.

Contact ProjectManager@weluvbooks.org for streaming link.

The series launches on Amazon Prime, May 14. CMCB will be hosting post-launch discussions. Details coming soon.

From Academy Award® winner Barry Jenkins and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad chronicles Cora Randall’s desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.

Over the course of her journey, Cora is pursued by Arnold Ridgeway, a bounty hunter who is fixated on bringing her back to the plantation she escaped; especially since her mother Mabel is the only one he has never caught.

As she travels from state to state, Cora contends with the legacy of the mother that left her behind and her own struggles to realize a life she never thought was possible.

Plan to join CMCB and others on this literary journey. RSVP and spread the word.

Flyer to share —

Additional resources

Terry Gross Fresh Air interview with director Barry Jenkins


New books at BBP-Anacostia; Used books coming soon

Busboys and Poets-Anacostia, just a block from the We Act Radio station where Charnice Milton Community Bookstore began, is now hosting a small collection of books picked by CMCB staff. After a soft opening in early March, CMCB at BBP-Anacostia continues to add titles, and the shelves are filling. The used book section is scheduled to open on May 27, honoring the fourth death anniversary of Charnice A. Milton (6/19/87– 5/27/15), East of the River journalist shot to death on her way home from assignment.

One of the first new books recommended by our staff is this powerful young adult novel, Monday is Not Coming.


Author Tiffany D. Jackson spends half her year in New York and half in DC. She portrays the lives of young people in a fictionalized Barry Farm with beauty and honesty.

Stay tuned for more news of the used book opening and for additional events centered around getting free books into the hands of young readers, particularly those east of the river.



National Press Club Honors Milton

The 44th Annual National Press Club Awards Dinner on July 28 recognized many journalists, including the late Charnice Milton. In Charnice’s memory, her parents, Ken and Francine McClenton, and her editor, Andrew Lightman of Capital Community News, were acknowledged, and the bookstore established in her name was recognized.

In addition to Charnice Milton, honorees included the following journalists:

  • ALISON PARKER of WDBJ-TV, was shot and killed in August 2015, along with her cameraman Adam Ward. Alison’s parents, Andy and Barbara Parker are honorary members of the National Press Club and do advocacy work in her memory.
  • JASON and YEGI REZAIAN of The Washington Post and The National, a UAE publication. The couple were unjustly detained in Iran on July 22, 2014 and held in prison, under harsh conditions, without charges; and
  • JIM VANCE, the late broadcasting legend from WRC-TV in DC, will receive The President’s Award for his outstanding service to journalism and this community.

More on the story at NBC-DC.


Most Literate, Most Challenged

From We Act Radio’s Education Town Hall: Washington has been declared the “most literate” city in the U.S. since 2010. Meanwhile, DC also has areas with illiteracy rates close to 50%, and a “book desert” where 830 children would need to share one age-appropriate book for sale. Hear from Dr. John W. Miller, author of the “most literate cities” studies; Dr. Jesse Turner, director of the Central Connecticut State Literacy Center and a friend of the Education Town Hall, and Jimmie Williams, executive director of DC’s Washington Literacy Center. July 27 Education Town Hall

This is a follow up to the Education Town Hall’s “Book Deserts and Their Effects” report. See also “Literacy East and West of DC’s Anacostia.”

The Education Town Hall with Thomas Byrd
broadcasts from Historic Anacostia
in Washington, DC, on We Act Radio,
Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern
Listen live via TuneIn.
Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.

After years of weekly broadcasts, the program now focuses one show each month on local issues and one on “the BUS,” organized by BadAss Teachers, United Opt Out, and SOS March.


Book Deserts and Their Effects


Book deserts “may seriously constrain young children’s opportunities to come to school ready to learn,” says professor Susan B. Neuman, lead author of a study which included several neighborhoods in the District.

[(USC Emeritus Professor) Steven] Kashen reports that book access and poverty are related but separate. On the one hand, “Children who live in poverty have fewer books in their homes, sometimes none. Fewer books in their neighborhood, fewer bookstores…inferior classroom libraries and school libraries.” HOWEVER, Kashen continues, reading ability is affected by book access independently of poverty. Giving children access to books can actually balance the effects of poverty: “Poor children don’t read well, because they don’t have access to books. You give them books, they do better.”
— from “Book Deserts and Their Effects” audio, text, citations and resources
at Education Town Hall


Put Books Into Young Hands, Grow Community

Help Charnice Milton Community Bookstore put books into the hands of local children. Support events fostering literacy, love of books and reading, and inter-generational conversation. Help us share our newest publication, The Great Kite, which promotes imagination around community building.

$300 provides a short workshop for a child or all-age group, a general book give-away, plus 20 copies of The Great Kite to a classroom or community group.

$150 sponsors a book give-away for a children’s group.

$10 allows us to provide one local reader with a free copy of The Great Kite.

Any sum goes directly to support Charnice Milton Community Bookstore’s literacy and book-sharing work. All donations most welcome. CMCB is a project of Social Arts And Culture, a non-profit 501(c)3, and donations are tax-deductible. Check out our special offers at three donation levels with links to give any amount on-line.

Join Charnice Milton Community Bookstore Book Launch Fund-Raiser

Book Launch Party

The Great Kite, written by CMCB volunteer Virginia Spatz, is both story and thought/art prompts, promoting imagination and community building. Works great for intergenerational discussion and engaging for readers of all ages.

Our launch celebration will include reading, refreshments, and art activities inspired by “The Great Kite” and by “When a Bully Is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times” from Reflection Press.

Donors of $50 will receive thank-you book. Copies of The Great Kite and When a Bully Is President will also be on hand for purchase.

CMCB’s First Book Released

The Great Kite, part of CMCB’s on-going efforts to foster literacy, love of books and reading, and inter-generational conversation, is available now.

This paperback is an inventive story with prompts for thought, writing, and artwork so readers can share their own ideas while reading. Intended for all ages, this is the inaugural offering of Charnice Milton Community Bookstore’s publication program.

Purchases ($15.30/book plus shipping) support our literacy efforts.
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

See also fund-raising opportunities, including free copy/free shipping in thanks for your $50/donation.

Great Kite ISBN Cover.jpg

CMCB at Busboys and Poets

A moving event honoring Charnice Milton‘s fourth death anniversary, May 27, 2019, launched the CMCB used book space at Busboys and Poets-Anacostia, 2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE. Read about the event at DC Line.

Used books now sell for $5/each or 5/$20. Children’s books, as always, are free of charge. Events designed to foster literacy for all ages and get more books into the hands of area children are planned for both the new space and We Act Radio, 1918 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, where the project was launched.

In addition, CMCB continues to recommend titles in the new book section of the BBP bookstore.

A highlight of the space is a sculpture, by local artists Mercedes, who crafts healing art from bullet casings and other materials once associated with violence.

CMCB sculpture