We received this note from Michael Patrick MacDonald about how he spent this past Monday, All Souls Day. MacDonald is the author of the critically acclaimed All Souls: A Family Story from Southie, a bestselling memoir of growing up in a poverty and violence stricken Boston neighborhood.
Spent today, All Souls Day, visiting students at four Boston Public Schools which use All Souls (and usually Easter Rising) in the classroom... I launched the entire Boston Public School marathon last week with an appearance at assembly for 150 Charlestown High School students who'd all been assigned All Souls. At Codman Academy today, students read passages of All Souls to me and talked about their personal connections to each passage, e.g. one young woman related to my outrage at the injustices in my brother Steven's case, telling me -- and the assembly of students and faculty -- that she experienced similar rage at her sisters imprisonment on murder charges. I was so moved by the experience at Codman Academy that I announced that this would become an annual institution, making pro bono appearances in the Boston Public Schools every year on All Souls Day (and the following days), thus bringing the intentions of the All Souls Day vigils we once held in South Boston, into the schools (where they are as relevant as ever).
Here's a picture from the Codman Academy website of MacDonald with students who participated in the event:
MacDonald visited several Boston schools: Charlestown High, Codman Academy, Fenway High School, Boston Day and Evening Academy, East Boston High School, and Boston Arts Academy, which is, incidentally, the setting for another Beacon Pres book: Linda Nathan's The Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test: Lessons from an Innovative Urban School. Here he's with students from Boston Arts Academy and with Linda Nathan: the two authors are holding each others' books in the picture.
It's been ten years since Beacon first published All Souls (which the Boston Globe named one of 100 Essential New England Books, and which readers currently have ranked #1 on that list), and in honor of that milestone, ads are running on the Red Line T trains, which pass under Beacon's offices in downtown Boston as well as through Southie.