Think Black

OCT 9, 2019 | 7-9PM; Doors 6PM

Join us for a book talk and signing with Clyde W. Ford, author of the new memoir Think Black. 



$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door. Tickets will be available online or at the OMSI front desk; see below for details.



In this thought-provoking and heartbreaking memoir, award-winning Bellingham author, Clyde W. Ford, tells the story of his father, John Stanley Ford, the first black software engineer at IBM, revealing how racism insidiously affected his father’s view of himself and their relationship.


In 1947, Thomas J. Watson set out to find the best and brightest minds for IBM. At City College he met young accounting student John Stanley Ford and hired him to become IBM’s first black software engineer. But not all of the company’s white employees accepted their black colleague and some did everything in their power to humiliate, subvert, and undermine Ford. Yet Ford would not quit. Viewing the job as the opportunity of a lifetime, he comported himself with dignity and professionalism, and relied on his community and his “street smarts” to succeed. He did not know that his hiring was meant to distract from IBM’s dubious business practices, including its involvement in the Holocaust, eugenics, and apartheid. While Ford remained at IBM, it came at great emotional cost to himself and his family, especially his son Clyde. Overlooked for promotions he deserved, the embittered Ford began blaming his fate on his skin color and the notion that darker-skinned people like him were less intelligent and less capable—beliefs that painfully divided him and Clyde, who followed him to IBM two decades later. From his first day of work—with his wide-lapelled suit, bright red turtleneck, and huge afro—Clyde made clear he was different. Only IBM hadn’t changed. As he, too, experienced the same institutional racism, Clyde began to better understand the subtle yet daring ways his father had fought back.


Clyde W. Ford is the author of ten works of fiction and nonfiction. He is also a psychotherapist, an accomplished mythologist, and a sought-after public speaker. He has received a number of awards, including the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award in fiction. He is currently a speaker for Humanities Washington, an affiliate of the NEA, and has been featured frequently in the media, including the Oprah Show, New Dimensions Radio, and NPR. He lives in Bellingham, Washington.



Think Black book talk and signing is a ticketed event. To guarantee a seat at this event, please buy tickets online or at the OMSI front desk. Please show your ticket at the theater entrance upon arrival.


If the event sells out, we will update the website and Facebook listings accordingly. If the event does not sell out in advance, attendance will be first-come, first-served at the door and at-the-door admission will remain a suggested donation.


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