Meet the Author Tea – Charles D. Thompson, Jr.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Refreshments: 3:30   Program: 4:00 – 5:00
Chapel Hill Public Library, Room B
Free and open to the public

Dr. Thompson is currently Professor of the Practice of Cultural Anthropology and Documentary Studies at Duke University, and he is also an author, filmmaker, photographer, activist and former farmer.

His most recent book, inspired by Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie, is called Border Odyssey: Travels Along the U.S.-Mexico Divide.  In it, he chronicles his journey accompanied by his wife, Hope, from one end to the other of the entire 1,969 mile border from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Pacific Ocean.  During this odyssey, he visited towns and villages on both sides of the border, talked to everyone willing to engage in conversation, took remarkable border_odysseyphotographs (now available on a companion website with an interactive map) and wrote a travel memoir full of adventure and misadventure, some comedy and some sadness.  He combines a compressed version of five centuries of cultural history with meditations on our current border policy.  The book is timely, given current concerns with immigration policy and daily news pictures of huge numbers of displaced people seeking asylum.

Charles Thompson has published six books; notable among them is an edited volume entitled The Human Cost of Food; Farmworkers’ Lives, Labor, and Advocacy.  He has produced and directed four documentary films, the most recent of which is called Brother Towns (2010).  An earlier film, We Shall Not be Moved, describes the history of Tillery, North Carolina, one of a handful of resettlement projects for African Americans, and the community’s subsequent and continuing battles to overcome racism and assaults on dignity.

He completed a Master’s and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 90s.  His undergraduate degree is from Emory & Henry College and he has a master’s degree in agricultural education from North Carolina A&T State University.  He worked as a farmer locally during which time he served as president for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Farmers’ Market.  He tells of connecting with some Mexican migrant workers, a life-changing experience that led to a decision to examine some of the issues raised in a more scholarly manner.

Banned Books Week 2015

Collect Banned Books Week Trading Cards

Have a set of 2015 or 2014 Banned Books Week Trading Cards (2013 cards are sold out) sent to your home. Cost is $7.00 plus $2.95 shipping. Use the order link below. Click Add to Cart.

Trading Cards

The cards are also available for purchase in the Friends Book Store.

Back and Bigger than Ever

Banned Books Week is September 27 – October 3, 2015, and the Chapel Hill Public Library has celebrated with the third set of Banned Books Week Trading Cards.

“The Banned Books Trading Cards project grows in popularity each year,” says Library Director Susan Brown.  “While the cards showcase great local artists, the message of the project – celebrating the freedom to read – is universal. We have shipped cards all over the county and the world and the project has been featured in local, state, and national media outlets.”

Once again artists from Orange, Durham, Wake, Chatham, and Alamance counties were encouraged to submit small scale works that are in some way inspired by a banned or challenged book or author. A jury selected seven pieces that were printed as a series of trading cards.  See the Library’s Banned Books Week page.


This year the Library has received a grant from the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund at the Freedom to Read Foundation which will allow it to take Banned Books statewide.  CHPL is one of only six libraries nationwide to receive an award this year, and the only one to win more than $1,000. The $1,500 grant allows CHPL to work with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Civic Education Consortium to develop a curriculum associated with Banned Books Week.  The Consortium will create the curriculum and make it available to educators; the Library has printed an additional 5,000 sets of trading cards and makes them freely available to classrooms across North Carolina.

The Banned Books Trading Cards receive annual support from the Friends of CHPL and the CHPL Foundation.