DuSable needs to review its procedures and treatment of its audience

Letter to the Editor:

The DuSable Museum of African-American History cancelled a book event, “Letters from Langston,” on March 13, only two days before the event. I had planned to attend. I had known the authors in early childhood, and many of the people central to the book, which was the fascinating story of a small group of friends who took it upon themselves, in true existential manner, to change the world. I had many questions.

It was a shock to hear from one of the authors that the event had been cancelled just two days before the event, without any direct notice to her. She had discovered it from a public email.

I immediately called the DuSable Museum, and was informed that the event was cancelled because only three people had sent in emails stating that they would attend. I told her, “… but I am planning to attend, and I haven’t sent in any emails,’ and that most people who planned to attend probably had not sent in emails because they had not known that email response was expected. I mentioned the March 14 Hyde Park Herald article about the event. Her response – we didn’t place an article in the Herald. Why not, I said. How did you expect people to know of the event? There was no response to that question.

So I called the Herald. They too had not been notified of the cancellation.

Even if only three people attended (which was not very likely) the event should have occurred. There have been book events in Hyde Park where only a handful of people attended, and they were not cancelled. The DuSable Museum is a valued institution of Hyde Park, of Chicago, and of this country. We need this museum, but it needs to review its procedures regarding its treatment of authors, and its concomitant treatment of audiences.

Editor’s Note: A spokesman from the DuSable Museum said, “It’s very unfortunate that the event had to be canceled but this happens at times with most organizations. We regret any disappointment or inconvenience this change of plans has caused.”