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 2021–Spring 2022 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.

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee
October 26 & 28, 2021 at 6 p.m. ET
Register here for either of the two discussion circles
More information about the author and the book is available here.

Environmental Justice
December 16, 2021, at 6 p.m. ET
Participants are requested to 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
February 22 & 24, 2022 at 6 p.m. ET
Registration link coming soon
More information about the author and the book is available here.

The Sum of Us book cover
Evicted 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

On Reparations
November 30, 2021, at 6 p.m. ET
Participants are requested to read the following articles in advance of the discussion.

Housing Policy/Reform
April 28, 2022, at 6 p.m. ET
Participants are requested to view 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).

Special Presentations

We will soon announce speakers for the following special events on the CHQ Assembly platform. A subscription to the platform is required.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaker
    January, Date and Speaker TBA
  • Women’s History Month Speaker
    March, Date and Speaker TBA