Academic Core

Cover Image of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man bookThe book for the Class of 2025 is Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho. The Common Read Committee -- which includes faculty, staff, and students from across the college -- chose Acho’s book to help our students develop a facility for engagement in issues that are critical to citizenship and democracy. We looked for a book that would stimulate thinking and conversations about race in our own lives and in the larger society. We wanted to signal to our newest Red Foxes that their college education will take them to new places, challenge their thinking, and help them to grow. Engaging in uncomfortable conversations is one to make sure this happens.

Marist College is excited to incorporate this book into the Class of 2025’s first-year experience. Acho’s book has been called a “friendly guide” to difficult topics. We believe this book will help us to engage with one another, expand our understanding and empathy, and work towards the Marist mission of helping students lead “enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.”

Students should purchase and read the book prior to arriving on campus in the fall. They will write an essay on the book in their First Year Seminar, as part of the college’s assessment of our Core/Liberal Studies curriculum. There will also be events sponsored by the different schools and disciplines throughout the year relating to the Common Read and its themes.

“Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation….”- Kirkus Reviews

Oprah Winfrey describes the book as “honest talk about race and racism that truly meets this moment.”


Historical List of Marist Common Read Books


Emmanuel Acho,
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man


Joshua Douglas,
Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting


Naomi Alderman,
The Power


Jonathan Starr,
It Takes a School


Reyna Grande,
The Distance Between Us


Wes Moore,
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates


Azar Nafisi,
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books


Steven Johnson,
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic and How it Changed, Science, Cities, and the Modern World

2013-14 Rebecca Skloot,
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks