Virtual Conversation with Betsy Graziani Fasbinder and Margot McMahon

The Morning Glory Project

We've been here before: unprecedented losses of friends and family, labor and material shortages, pandemics in 1919, worldwide migration of people, and moving from cities to rural communities. In If Trees Could Talk, one artistic Irish Catholic family from Northern Ireland shows how to bounce back.  

The Morning Glory Project (January 5, 2022): a conversation with Betsy Graziani Fasbinder and Margot McMahon reveals an insider's perspective of writing If Trees Could Talk. Launching on January 5th, this conversation will be available virtually.

Margot McMahon shares a brief summary of her Chicago Public Library presentation, A Chicago Aviation History that sets the scene for Mac and Irene falling in love with each other and airplanes. Their lifelong love of flying began in unprecedented times of great ingenuity. Please request If Trees Could Talk from your library,, or your local bookstore.


Before I was born, Mac and Irene revealed through journalism social injustices including Mac's drawing at the Emmett Till Trial for Life Magazine. In 1955 he captured the courtroom drama on a small pad of paper to upscale the images for pages of drawings of the defendants, jury, and Mose Wright. Irene was home with six children. The Chicago History Museum published an article about Mac's capturing the trial in graphite on paper.

If Trees Could Talk
"Emmett was beaten in Leslie Milam’s shed, shot and mutilated, then found in the Tallahatchie River. Pencils slowed in the “Black” press section. Fabric rustled from the gallery in a squirming silence. Not a breath was drawn from those in the rear seats.

“Can you identify the men who came to your door?” the defense asked. Graphite scratching the textured paper interrupted the vacuum of breathing as Emmett’s uncle, Mose Wright, stood up. With a shaking arm, he pointed to the white men, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam. “There’s he.”

“There, it happened!” Mac nearly said out loud. Mac’s pencil flew to capture the tension in the air. He shucked 300 years of United States history! he thought and drew. Mac’s graphite lines captured the electricity in the room in the form of the shaky, outstretched, and elongated arm, the force of gesture in his stance, the quaking suspenders on the pants. Then, a loud lurching thud was heard. Mose Wright sat. That thud told what strength it had taken for him to stand, point his finger, and state two words, “There’s he.”


Lake Forest Library will host (April 10, 2:00) Margot McMahon reading from If Trees Could Talk

Irish American Heritage Center will host (April) Carol Orange (A Discerning Eye) and Margot McMahon (If Trees Could Talk) in a conversation on gathering clues and writing from painting interpretations.
Updates will be posted through this QR code:


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