Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad Selected as All-School Read
Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad Selected as All-School Read
Liz Torrey

Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad has been selected as this year's all-School summer read. This powerful novel, which combines elements from fantasy and historical fiction genres, follows Cora and Caesar, both slaves on a cotton plantation in Georgia who decide to risk escape via the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad received the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2016 National Book Award.

The English Department distributed copies of Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad to all students and faculty at the end of the school year. (Seen here are Noelle Yoo '18, Elisa Davila '18, and Tina Taylor '18 picking up their copies.) Whitehead will be coming to St. Andrew's in the spring of 2018 to work and speak with students. Teachers across disciplines will be teaching the novel in preparation for his April visit.

"After reading The Underground Railroad and hearing Colson Whitehead speak at the Philadelphia Free Library last year, I knew that I wanted everyone in the St. Andrew's school community to not only read this book but hear him speak as well," said Dean of Teaching and Learning Elizabeth Roach. "The story is both fantastical (in the novel, the Underground Railroad is actually a real railroad with tracks and trains) as well as brutally honest and specific about the particular traumas of American slavery. This line between the metaphorical and the literal is blurred throughout the novel as we experience the atrocities of slavery through his characters. Whitehead forces us to consider how far we've actually progressed—or traveled—in our understanding, ownership, and storytelling of our past."

In addition to The Underground Railroad, this summer students were asked to choose and read a few books from a list of titles recommended by all faculty members. Visit the SAS Library website to peruse the list!