Two National Book Award-winning authors keynote New Trier High School seminar day on civil rights

National Book Award-winning authors Colson Whitehead and Andrew Aydin will be the keynote speakers as New Trier hosts an all-school seminar day on race and civil rights on Feb. 28.

Whitehead is the author of The Underground Railroad, a #1 New York Times bestseller and 2016 National Book Award-winning novel about an escaped slave's harrowing pursuit of freedom. Aydin is co-author of the National Book Award-winning graphic memoir series MARCH, which chronicles the life of Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.

"These nationally celebrated authors will provide a powerful introduction to a day in which our students will explore our country's long struggle for civil rights," said Dr. Tim Hayes, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services.

In addition to the keynote sessions, students will choose from workshops offered by New Trier faculty and outside presenters on topics ranging from racial housing patterns and Native American civil rights to gospel music and civil rights activism in sports.

Whitehead will speak to upperclassmen on the Winnetka Campus, while Aydin will lead a discussion with freshmen at the Northfield Campus. In addition to receiving the National Book Award for The Underground Railroad, his sixth novel, Whitehead is a 2002 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, better known as a "genius grant." Aydin serves as Digital Director and Policy Advisor to Rep. Lewis and was his co-author on MARCH, illustrated by Nate Powell, which was the first graphic arts work to win the National Book Award.

The seminar day is part of New Trier High School's ongoing racial equity work, a goal outlined in the District's last strategic plan.

"New Trier has a long tradition of using seminar and student institute days to explore important topics, from global relations post-Sept. 11 to service and post-high school planning," said Dr. Linda Yonke, Superintendent of New Trier Township High School District 203. "We are excited to bring two award-winning authors to New Trier to lead our students in a day devoted to thinking critically about racial civil rights."