Thermal Belt Friendship Council

Saturday February 18, 2017 3:00-5:00PM
The Tryon Depot Room 22 Depot Street, Tryon NC


All are welcome to join in the discussion of this NY Times bestselling book which tackles the issue of racism in contemporary America. Please join us for an open discussion, friendship and refreshments.

It is not necessary to read the book to participate.
Questions: Please contact Donna Tatnall (828) 859-7099 or

Questions for Consideration

The following questions are from the authors’ website and written to assist discussion groups in understanding the message of the book. Please take a few minutes to review prior to our meeting.

What stereotypes about people of another race do you remember hearing and believing as a child? Were you ever encouraged to question stereotypes (WUW p.6)

Have you tried to form relationships across racial lines? How have they worked out? If they didn’t get very far, how did you explain that to yourself? (WUW, p.123)

White people have a historical habit of ‘helping’ and ‘fixing’ people whom they deem ‘other’ and inferior. This damaging pattern even has a name: “White Savior Syndrome”. The ultimate, and deadly, irony is that it serves mostly to reinforce ideas about white superiority and white goodness. Can you give three historical examples of this? Can you find three moments in this story where Kennedy falls into that inherited behavioral pattern?

We see Kennedy wrestling with her own inner bias and racial conditioning. Are you in touch with your inner bias and racial conditioning? Can you list five moments over the course of your life when you were taught – through language or silence – what to think and feel about race in America?



Order Small Great Things from Amazon by clicking here


Additional Book Recommendations.

The Warmth of Other Suns, The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

This is the story of the thousands of African American’s that left the South during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Thousands were interviewed to write this book and their stories are told through the narratives of three families that settled in three cities: Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles/Oakland. As I read this book, I saw not only my family’s story but the stories of many others. I highly recommend this Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

When the Gates Lift Their Heads, A Story of the Seventies by Payne Erskine

A novel written in the early 1900s about Tryon in the 1870 by Emma Payne Erskine. Many know that she was a artist, writer and successful builder who spent most of her adult life in Tryon. This book was clearly ahead of its time and, unfortunately, never received the commercial success it should have. It tells a compelling story of life in Tryon, post-Civil War and the people who lived here and all the class distinctions of the time just to deliver the message that we are all loved equally by God. Anyone interested in the history of Tryon will like this book. Warning: A few of the chapters are written in the precise dialect of the Black population for authenticity. I found those chapter hard to read due to the broken language and I found some of the words offensive. In the end, however, I realize how important this writing style was to the story. Not sure if it is in print but available on Amazon as an electronic download.


Friendship Council

The Thermal Belt Friendship Council is a nonprofit organization formed in 1986. Our purpose is to promote stronger relationships and diversity among the peoples in Polk County, North Carolina. We are active in promoting social activities that bring diverse groups together to set examples of harmony in the community. Such programs include several potluck dinners during the year, Christmas caroling and a monthly group luncheon at various area restaurants. Another program that fosters multiracial appreciation and understanding is a free annual community picnic held at Harmon Field. Several hundred members of the community usually participate. The Friendship Council also sponsors the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday celebration. We also have a scholarship fund for qualified area high school students.

We welcome new members at any time, and there is no fee to belong. The greater the membership, the better we are prepared to serve the community with friendship, understanding, and support. Members receive meaningful gratification in helping others to coexist peacefully with their neighbors in a comfortable and pleasing atmosphere.

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at Roseland Center in Tryon, which is at the corner of East Howard and Peake Street.

2015 – 2016 Officers
Donna Tatnall – President
Franklin Smith – Vice President
Mary Parker – Secretary
Meg Rogers -Treasurer/Publicity & Archives