Chautauqua Mirror Project

Chautauqua Institution has a history of convening conversations and dialogue, with the African American Heritage House at Chautauqua hosting some of the most dynamic and important conversations about race on the grounds. The Institution and the AAHH have partnered since the summer of 2020 on the Mirror Project to spur year-around community discussions, reflections and engagement on race, racism and anti-racism. The project has grown to include an ongoing reading circle where community members are encouraged to read books, convene in discussions, and consider what part each of us can play in creating a more just and equitable society. 

If you are interested in learning more, please email Sony Ton-Aime, Michael I. Rudell Director of Literary Arts, at

Fall 2022–Spring 2023 Events

We are pleased to announce the following book discussions, porch chats and special speakers as part of the Mirror Project.

Book Discussions

Participants are invited to read the selections listed below in advance of the discussions. Please feel free to register and attend both or just one discussion meeting. 

Black Like Me – The Role of Allyship
This event has already happened.

We will discuss Allyship. We will consider the book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. Participants are also encouraged to read a shorter article by Keith S. Edwards on Allyship. You can find the article here.

The 1619 Project
Wednesdays, February 15 & February 22 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein

Registration Link will be posted by February 1 for either of the two discussion circles. More information about the book is available here.

Under the Skin by Linda Villarosa
Wednesday, April 19 & Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Registration Link will be posted by April 1 for either of the two discussion circles. More information about the book is available here.

Black Like Me book cover
The 1619 Project book cover
Under The Skin book cover

Porch Chats

Porch chats are informal community discussions. Participants can click on the links below to join the discussion. Please note that a free Virtual Porch account will be required for login via

Uplifting the Native American Voice: Faithkeeper Oren Lyons Lecture
Wednesday, November 30 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Register Here

Participants are encouraged to see Faithkeeper Oren Lyon’s 2022 Chautauqua Lecture via Chautauqua Assembly. This lecture is available for free viewing during the month of November in honor of Native American History Month. Participants will discuss the key themes presented in the lecture and connect them to our larger discussions and understanding of race, racism & allyship.

A Conversation on the Non-Violence Movement with Prof. Patrick G. Coy
Monday, January 30 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Registration link will be posted by January 1

Prof. Patrick G. Coy is an international expert on the topic of non-violence. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day, we are inviting participants to a discussion about non-violence, what it is, what it might look like in our current context, and does it still work?

Unions & Race
Tuesday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Registration link will be posted by March 1

We will explore the history of race and unions from a variety of perspectives. Participants are encouraged to read the Booker T. Washington’s speech at the Tuskegee Institute and this article from the Cato Institute.

Oren Lyons giving a lecture in the Hall of Philosophy
Patrick Coy's headshot
Graphic of arms raised in protest

Past Events

Fall 2021–Spring 2022


The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
More information about the author and the book is available here.

Environmental Justice
Participants read the following two articles in advance of the discussion to better understand the connections between environmental and racial justice.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
More information about the author and the book is available here.


On Reparations
Participants read the following articles in advance of the discussion.

Housing Policy/Reform
Participants viewed this lecture by Andre Perry in advance of the discussion. Dr. Perry is the author of the new book Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities. The lecture is available on CHQ Assembly and has temporarily been switched to open access for this discussion (i.e., a subscription is not required for this lecture).