The World in Flames:
A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult
This event includes a book signing
September 23, 2016
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome award-winning author and an associate professor of creative writing at Emerson College JERALD WALKER for a discussion of his latest book, The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult—a memoir of growing up with blind, African-American parents in a segregated cult preaching the imminent end of the world.
About The World in Flames
When The World in Flames begins, in 1970, Jerald Walker is six years old. His consciousness revolves around being a member of a church whose teachings he finds confusing and terrifying. Composed of a hodgepodge of religious beliefs, the underlying tenet of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God was that members were God’s chosen race and all others would perish in just a few years’ time. The next life, according to Armstrong, would arrive in 1975, three years after the Great Tribulation. Walker would be eleven years old.
Walker’s parents were particularly vulnerable to the promise of relief from this world’s hardships. They were living in a two-room apartment in a dangerous Chicago housing project with their four children. Both were blind, having lost their sight to childhood accidents, and took comfort in the belief that they had been chosen for a better afterlife.
When the initial prophecy of the 1972 Great Tribulation does not materialize, Walker is considerably less disappointed than relieved. When the End-Time 1975 prophecy also fails, he finally begins to question his faith and to see a potential future for himself.
“The key to the memoir’s cumulative power is Walker’s narrative command; the rite of passage is rockier than most, making the redemption well-earned.” —Kirkus Reviews,
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.