Writer Anneliese Brunner to highlight three-day festival at Central Library

Published 12:24 am Friday, August 6, 2021

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When Annelise Bruner was in her 30s, her father gave her a small, red cloth-covered book entitled “Events of the Tulsa Disaster,” by Mary Jones Parrish that had been published in 1922. He told her that Parrish was her great-grandmother.

“I thought, ‘Why haven’t I ever known about this?’” Bruner said. “I couldn’t believe that this had happened and that my great-grandmother had survived and written about it.”

The Tulsa race massacre took place between May 31 and June 1, 1921, and resulted in 35 blocks of the Greenwood District, which was known as Black Wall Street, being destroyed. At least 39 people died.

Parrish’s book has been reissued with an afterward written by Bruner, a writer and editor who lives in Washington D.C., and is titled: “The Nation Must Awake: My Witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.” Bruner will give a talk about the book at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, at Central Library, as part of the Forsyth County Public Library’s Summer Reading Finale.

Bruner said that she plans to do further research on her family history and that she hopes people who read her great-grandmother’s account will come to recognize the importance of their own family stories.

“People don’t realize how important their story is,” she said. “I want to say to people, ‘You’re living history right now. You’re living history.’”

The finale features three days of events at Central Library, 660 W. Fifth St. in Winston-Salem. All programs are free to the public. They include:

• Thursday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. — a teen concert on the lawn hosted by L.B. the Poet

• Friday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. — WXII-12 personality Talitha Vickers will host a talk with Bruner.

• Saturday, Aug. 14 at 11 a.m. — the Greater Vision Dance Company will perform on the Central Library lawn.