JUST RELEASED: The Dayton Anthology, a collection of the city’s stories as told by its people

“The Dayton Anthology” is described by its publisher as “a snapshot of a city as it recovers from the twin 2019 crises of devastating tornadoes and the mass shooting that took the lives of nine residents.

“Through essays and poems, contributors reflect on these traumas, and the longer-term ills of disinvestment and decay that have plagued the city for years, but also on the resilience of the people who call Dayton home.”

The Dayton Anthology was published by Belt Publishing and was curated and edited by Daytonian Shannon Shelton Miller, who has lived in the Gem City for 10 years. It was published on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

To celebrate the book’s release, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley hosted Miller for a virtual interview on Facebook Live Friday to discuss the book’s significance.

“I’m so, so grateful that you decided to put your talent and time into this,” Whaley told The Dayton Anthology’s editor and curator. The book will add context over the coming years as readers reflect on the events of 2019, the mayor said.

Miller’s book was published as she celebrates her 10th year of calling the Miami Valley home. She is a former staff writer at the Detroit Free Press and the Orlando Sentinel, and she has contributed as a freelance writer to the New York Times, Washington Post, ESPN.com, Slate, InStyle, Shondaland and the Huffington Post.

The Dayton Anthology’s contributing writers reflect on their Dayton stories through essays and poems. It is a collection of personal moments, including reminiscences on childhood in Dayton, memories of learning about the Wright Brothers, reflections on families’ journeys to Dayton, stories of triumphant college basketball moments and an exploration of the Dayton Funk movement.

Whaley contributed a piece, as did former Ohio Governor Bob Taft and several others with strong Dayton connections.

“This is the city that brought the world the Wright brothers’ invention of flight, along with the cash register, the hydraulic pump, and other technological innovations, but also the soaring poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the comedy of Dave Chappelle,” Belt Publishing said of The Dayton Anthology.

The book’s final chapter is all about 2019 and the tragedies Dayton endured.

“Now that we’re a year out from what happened in 2019, it’s interesting to look back, look at what we learned or look what we were going through on those days,” Miller said. “So when I was reading these, just a few months removed from that, it was just really raw and fresh, but now it’s kind of interesting to look back and see what we were going through at that time, and then how we got through that.”

Whaley said, “I think these kind of projects are what make Dayton so special … This book will go to Dayton History, and this will be at the heart of Dayton’s history, too.”

The book, published Dec. 1, is available for $20 at beltpublishing.com. As of Dec. 7, shoppers could get a 20% discount by using the code HOLIDAY at check-out.

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