Monthly Archives: February 2016

Hello, March!

Congratulations, IWU Titans! You made it through February! Here’s a look ahead to some things happening in The Ames Library this week.

Beckman Auditorium (all events)

Wednesday, March 2, 4pm – The North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Cause and Policy Suggestions – Guest speaker Uk Heo, UWM distinguished professor in the Department of Political Science at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, sponsored by the Diplomatic Studies Team of International Studies.

Thursday, March 3, 4pm – Struggles for Freedom Series: Jamie Kalven, “A New Era of Police Reform? The Unfolding Drama in Chicago” – Human rights reporter and community organizer Jamie Kalven has been working on police reform on the South Side of Chicago for over 20 years. He recently succeeded in getting the Chicago Police Department to share with the public and publish their internal records on police misconduct. Kalven has just been awarded a George Polk award for his local reporting on the Laquan McDonald case in the city. Kalven will speak as part of a series of talks and films sponsored by the Political Science Department, made possible through generous grants provided by the Betty Ritchie-Birrer ’47 and Ivan Birrer Endowment Fund.

Thursday, March 3, 7pm – International Film Series: “Sunshine”(1999, Germany/Austria/Hungary/Canada), will be presented by Associate Professor of Political Science Kathleen Montgomery.

Slavery’s Hidden History: An interview with historian Eric Foner

This article originally appeared in American Libraries:

Eric Foner—Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, author ofGateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (W. W. Norton, 2015), Columbia University professor, and author of more than 20 history texts—spoke toAmerican Libraries about his latest book and his plans for the future. Foner’s specialty is the American Civil War and Reconstruction, and he has been teaching a popular course on that topic to Columbia undergraduates for more than 30 years. His bookReconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877 (Harper and Row, 1988) is recognized as a definitive work on federal attempts to rebuild the South and establish equal constitutional rights for African-Americans. Foner is giving a talk about the Underground Railroad at the Chicago Humanities Festival on October 31.

Your most recent book is a fascinating look at the Underground Railroad and antislavery networks of pre–Civil War New York City. Explain how you came across the document that shed new light on these events.

Sydney Howard Gay (1814-1888), New York editor and abolitionist.
Sydney Howard Gay (1814-1888), New York editor and abolitionist.

ERIC FONER: It was totally accidental. Madeline Lewis, an undergraduate history major at Columbia who also worked for my family as a dog walker, was writing a senior thesis a few years ago about Sydney Howard Gay, an abolitionist editor here in New York City. Gay’s papers, about 80 boxes of them, are in the Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library. One day she said to me, “You know, Professor Foner, in one box there is a document having to do with fugitive slaves. I’m not quite sure what it is. It’s not relevant for my work, but you might find it interesting.” So I filed that in the back of my mind, and one day I was in the library and decided to look at that document. It was actually two little notebooks, dating from 1855 and 1856 when Gay was editing the National Anti-Slavery Standard and actively assisting escaped slaves. He kept a record of more than 200 men, women, and children who passed through New York City, and he called it the “Record of Fugitives.”

I had never seen this cited or mentioned by any scholar. It is a fascinating document. Because Gay was a journalist, he interviewed the fugitives. You really can hear the voices of these slaves as they are in the process of escaping. I worked outward from that document to piece together the experience of these slaves, the structure of the Underground Railroad in the 1850s, and eventually the political importance of the fugitive slave issue in American politics before and during the Civil War.

Cover of Eric Foner's Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (W. W. Norton, 2015).
Cover of Eric Foner’s Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (W. W. Norton, 2015).

Gay’s record tells some harrowing stories of escaped slaves that you recount in your book. The artwork on the cover shows a slave family fleeing on horseback. Is it true that not all of them escaped on foot? That is a famous painting, A Ride for Liberty—The Fugitive Slaves by Eastman Johnson. One of the funny things about writing books is that the publisher chooses the cover. I had actually wanted something different. Yes, our image of fugitive slaves tends to be a lone individual running through the woods, hiding out in the day and traveling at night. For many that was true, but by the 1850s most slaves escaped in other ways. The transportation network was nearly complete by then, so many slaves escaped on train or by boat. One thing that surprised me was that there were thousands of boats going up and down the Atlantic Coast. Many captains, who weren’t necessarily abolitionists, would take money to hide a few fugitive slaves on board while they were sailing north from Virginia or North Carolina. Other fugitives stole horse-drawn carriages or horses, like in the painting, and just rode off. Some of them did escape on foot, but they tried many other methods as well.

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), abolitionist and humanitarian.
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), abolitionist and humanitarian.

Sydney Howard Gay knew of Harriet Tubman’s efforts to help escaped slaves. What did he write about her? One of the longest entries in this document is his encounter with Harriet Tubman. In fact, she appears twice on two of her trips through New York. Tubman is a unique individual. She escaped from slavery in Maryland in 1849, then in the 1850s went back six or seven times and led out 70–80 people on trips to freedom. Gay tells us the story of her life from her earlier days. He calls her “Captain Harriet Tubman,” which suggests he knew her or knew about her. I’ve never seen anyone during that period call her that. Later on, John Brown called her “General Harriet Tubman.” He promoted her. But that was around 1859. It was fascinating to see her pop up in this document.

David Ruggles (1810-1849), printer and abolitionist.
David Ruggles (1810-1849), printer and abolitionist.

What role did David Ruggles play in New York’s antislavery movement?Ruggles was a black abolitionist in New York City active particularly in the 1830s. We should not think of the Underground Railroad as a highly organized, structured system with regular routes and agents, and passwords and stations. Sometimes people take the railroad metaphor a little too literally. It was basically a set of small local networks that communicated with each other and helped fugitive slaves. If anyone was a founder of the Underground Railroad, it was David Ruggles. In 1835, Ruggles was critical in founding the New York State Vigilance Committee, which was organized for black New Yorkers to stop the kidnapping of free African-Americans off the streets of New York, something that was happening with alarming frequency, particularly with children. Gangs of kidnappers grabbed people, put them on a boat, and sold them into slavery. People are more aware of that now because of the movie 12 Years a Slave.

Very quickly the New York State Vigilance Committee became involved in helping fugitive slaves. It urged other cities to do this, so by 1840 there were vigilance committees in Boston, Albany, and Philadelphia. In a sense, that was the beginning of the Underground Railroad network that passed fugitives along from one node to the other. Ruggles was a key actor.

Solomon Northup (1808-1863?), engraving from his autobiography, 12 Years a Slave (1853).
Solomon Northup (1808-1863?), engraving from his autobiography, 12 Years a Slave (1853).

What did you think of the movie12 Years a Slave? I’m not a big fan of Hollywood history. 12 Years a Slavewas pretty good by Hollywood standards. It was strongly based on the book of the same name that Solomon Northup wrote in 1853. It gives you a dramatic, visceral sense of slavery and the violence and oppression and mistreatment that the slaves were subjected to. If people see it, they can learn something about slavery. My problem with it is that this is Hollywood history. There always has to be one hero. I don’t care if it’s Lincoln, Malcolm X, or Gandhi, it’s the “great man” view of history. Maybe that’s inevitable in the genre.

Solomon Northup is portrayed very well, but most of the other slaves are inert. In other words, they have no sense of any class consciousness or resistance. Northup is the catalyst. And that’s true of the book as well, so I’m not complaining. But on the screen, it’s considerably exaggerated.

In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed. What effect did that have on the Underground Railroad?The Fugitive Slave Law was a draconian law that made the capture and the return of fugitive slaves a federal responsibility. Before then, it had been up to the individual states. Increasingly, many northern states did not want anything to do with this, and they didn’t allow local officials to take part. Southerners got very annoyed and they demanded a national law, which was passed in 1850. So the army, the militias, federal marshals, and federal commissioners were now supposed to take over the capture of fugitive slaves.

The law was directed at the Underground Railroad to some extent, but the result was to catalyze even more resistance and inspire people toward more radical and violent action in the assistance of fugitives, even as it became more dangerous to do so. The Underground Railroad certainly flourished in the 1850s and was not intimidated by the new law.

Did the Fugitive Slave Law make Gay’s Record of Fugitives more dangerous to retain? Yes, that’s a good point. Gay was keeping a record of illegal actions. He could easily be put in jail if someone found it. There were other people active in the Underground Railroad who destroyed their records after the law was passed in 1850. William Still in Philadelphia kept similar records and later said he had to hide them in a graveyard where no one would find them. I don’t know why Gay kept this document. He doesn’t explain why he retained it or why he stopped taking notes after 1860. Maybe he kept other records that haven’t survived.

Eric Foner's Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (HarperCollins, 1988).
Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (HarperCollins, 1988).

In your 1988 book, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, you describe Reconstruction as a noble effort to establish an interracial democracy. Why did that fail? In early 1867, Congress mandated the right for black men to vote in the South, a tremendous change in one year. Blacks could hardly vote anywhere before the Civil War, and now they were given new civil rights in new state governments that became the first experiment in interracial democracy in American history.

In my book I quoted Senator Timothy O. Howe from Wisconsin. In a letter to a relative, he wrote: “We have cut loose from the whole dead past and have cast our anchor out a hundred years.” In a certain sense, that’s what happened. It took another 100 years for this country in the Civil Rights Era, which is sometimes called the Second Reconstruction, to implement fully and permanently the principles of legal and political equality that were attempted during Reconstruction. It was a complete break from American tradition, I’m sorry to say, because racism was so deeply ingrained in both North and South. This was a remarkable experiment. I’m not sure I would go so far as to say it was doomed to failure. But you can explain its failure readily by looking at the retreat from equality, violence in the South, the Ku Klux Klan and other groups attacking these new state governments, and the retreat by the federal government enforcing the new laws and constitutional amendments. There are many reasons why Reconstruction failed; what’s really remarkable is that it was attempted at all.

In what ways are Americans still coming to terms with a heritage of slavery? Pick up your daily newspaper. Look at the way policing is done in this country in some places, where black men seem to be targets. Or look at social statistics relating to family income. There was an article in the New York Times about life expectancy, how the gap there has widened between blacks and whites. There are still deep racial disparities in this country. That’s not all the legacy of slavery. Reconstruction was followed by 100 years of Jim Crow segregation, which continued this system of inequality. I don’t want to pass the buck all the way back to slavery. Certainly, racial inequality is a legacy of slavery and we still have it. Despite great progress, we still have a long way to go.

Cape Town, South Africa, has a museum devoted to the Dutch slave trade. Does the US have anything comparable about American slavery? Nothing quite yet. In Charleston, South Carolina, some want to build an International African-American Museum right on the dock where slaves disembarked. In Wallace, Louisiana, the historic Whitney Plantation opened in 2014 and offers exhibits and narratives on slavery, but it’s a little off the beaten path. [There is also a National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.—Ed.] Liverpool, England, and Nantes, France, major slave-trading hubs in the 18th century, have built museums to come to terms with their history. But we have not done that in this country. In Washington, D.C., we have an excellent Holocaust museum. And we should. The Holocaust is something that people want to know about. But we have no museums about slavery. How would we feel if the Germans built a big museum of American slavery in Berlin and had no museum about the European Holocaust? We would think they were trying to avoid something.

In 1995, James W. Loewen wrote a book called Lies My Teacher Told Me, a devastating critique of the inaccuracies in American high school history textbooks. Has accuracy improved in the past 20 years? I have a vested interest in saying yes because I am author of a textbook (Give Me Liberty! An American History) that came out a few years after Loewen’s book, and it is widely used in colleges and in high schools. I feel I’m not telling any lies. Loewen would have to judge how it measures up to his standards. I took on board some of his criticisms of other books in which historical events were misrepresented. Textbooks have improved. Loewen’s book actually stimulated publishers and authors to look at what they were saying and make textbooks more accurate and up to date. The problem with many textbooks is not so much lies, but boredom. Many of them were written by a committee of five or six authors with no coherent, single voice. My book was only written by me. Whatever you like or don’t like, blame me or credit me, but there’s no committee involved.

With so many digital libraries and online historical resources available now, do you find that your methodology for research and writing has changed significantly from years past? Absolutely. Not everything is online, contrary to what many of my students think. For example, the document that I refer to that was the basis of my book was sitting in the Columbia University library. It wasn’t online. It was there to be used, but no one had used it. However, it is online now. Columbia has digitized it and I provided a transcript. The new technology means you don’t have to go to Columbia to read this important document. Certainly, online resources have made our research much easier. I did a tremendous amount of work sitting in my office here, going through digitized copies of black newspapers, anti-slavery newspapers, other newspapers, and anti-slavery collections that are now online. Not everything, but an amazing amount of material.

The newspaper that Sydney Howard Gay edited, The National Anti-Slavery Standard, was not digitized when I wrote the book. It has been since (on the Internet Archive). So I went through that the old-fashioned way. We have it in our library, and I just went through turning the pages for its 20-year run. The problem with digital searching is you find exactly what you’re looking for. If I’m looking for “fugitive,” I’ll find an article that mentions “fugitive.” When you go through it page by page, you find things you weren’t looking for, that often are very valuable and important. Doing research is often about finding surprises.

People say how much material is online, but that doesn’t mean it’s available to everybody. Columbia has bought an enormous number of digital databases. But there are many people I know who teach at very good institutions that can’t afford to get every one of these resources. A friend of mine at Vanderbilt, for example, emailed me and asked me to look at a particular database that contained a copy of a rare pamphlet. Like everything else in our society, the rich are getting richer, and everyone else is falling behind. That’s true in the digital world also.

In your books, you often mention librarians and archivists in the acknowledgments. Have some librarians been particularly helpful to your research over the years? There are the rare book librarians at Columbia who have helped me not only with this one document but with all of the Gay papers. I have enormous respect for librarians and archivists. I have always thanked them in acknowledgments, because you can’t make full use of an archive or a library without their assistance. They know what’s there better than the online guides. Many times in my career, I have been directed to things by librarians that I would not have known to look at. Once you tell them what you are interested in and working on, they say, “Well you might want to take a look at this, or you might want to take a look at that.” So, more power to them.

You will be retiring from teaching soon. What are your plans? I am retiring at the end of spring 2016. I’m not even teaching this term. I have one more course in the spring, and then I ride off into the sunset. However, my lecture course on Civil War and Reconstruction has been put online. It’s now what they call a MOOC, a massive online open course. But it’s free of charge—anybody who wants to see my lectures on this can just click in. They’re all onYouTube and available through edX. I did that because I taught this course for a long time, and I wouldn’t want it to disappear completely, so it will be out there for anyone who wants to see it.

Are you planning any new research or writing projects? Probably down the road, but I’m waiting until after the next term of teaching is over to start thinking about that. I’m sure I will. I’m not just going to Florida to play golf. But I’ll still be a historian.


GEORGE M. EBERHART is senior editor of American Libraries.

Papers of Rosa Parks Will Reside at the Library of Congress

This article originally appeared online in InfoDocket, in Library Journal:

The Library of Congress will be the new home of the Rosa Parks Collection, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today. The collection will be at the Library on a 10-year loan from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

The collection comprises approximately 1,500 items including personal correspondence and photographs, autobiographical notes, letters from presidents, her Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal, additional honors and awards, clothing and furniture, and 200 drawings by schoolchildren and hundreds of greeting cards from individuals thanking her for her inspirational role in the civil rights movement.

Items from the collection will be incorporated in spring of 2015 into the new exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom,” which opens Sept. 10.

In addition, the Library will digitize the documents and visual materials and make them widely available through its website.

MTE1ODA0OTcxNzQ5Mzc3NTQ5“Rosa Parks is an iconic figure in the American civil rights movement, the very definition of the quiet power of an individual to inspire action in others,” Billington said. “This collection joins our unparalleled holdings of African-American materials in a public institution.”

Howard G. Buffett, chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, said, “My goal was always to ensure this historic collection would be made available for the public’s benefit so that as many people as possible can learn about Rosa Parks and the sacrifices she made to support the civil rights movement. I believe that partnering with the Library of Congress to display these items in our nation’s capital is the best way to achieve that goal.”

The Rosa Parks Collection joins such important civil rights materials at the Library of Congress as the papers of Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Roy Wilkins and the records of both the NAACP and the National Urban League. The collection becomes part of the larger story of our nation, available alongside the presidential papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, and the papers of many others who fought for equality, including Susan B. Anthony and Patsy Mink.

Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white passenger on Dec. 1, 1955, led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in the U.S. civil rights movement.

LSTA Grant Funds Digitization of Library Company of Philadelphia’s African Americana Graphics Collection

This article originally appeared in the Delaware Valley Archivists Group:

ThJanuaryArranger-202x300rough the generous support of a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act, over 800 prints, photographs, and pieces of ephemera documenting the African American experience will be digitized and added to the Library Company’s digital collections catalog ImPAC. A collection of national importance, the graphics depict African American life, community, work, art, and political and social activism from the early American period to the early 20th century.

Views of prominent Philadelphia African American churches like Mother Bethel, political cartoons addressing the effect of slavery on the young nation, and commemorative prints recognizing early civil rights victories following the Civil War are just a few of the visual materials being reproduced. The graphic files with full descriptions will be accessible in ImPAC for research onsite and remotely by the summer of 2014.  The material will augment and complement our nearly 50 existing digital collections, including 18th- and 19th-cenutry ephemera, Philadelphia commercial lithographs, and views by early Philadelphia photographers.

Our African Americana graphics have continually been some of our most requested visual materials by our readers, and we are delighted to provide further access to this tremendous historical resource.

For sneak previews of the graphics to be included, please follow our progress through Twitter, #lcpprints.

IWU Titans: Ames Needs Your Feedback!

cropped-ames_fall.jpgThe Ames Library is interested in your feedback about our library and how you use it. Your opinions will help us continue to make the library space the best it can be.
As an incentive, we will be randomly drawing names of respondents for Tommy’s/Hattie’s gift certificates.  Thanks in advance for your help.
You can access the survey here:

Washington University Libraries Creates “Documenting Ferguson” Digital Repository

This article originally appeared on Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom:

Photographer Mark Regester captured this image of protesters Aug. 17 during the height of unrest in Ferguson. This photograph is now part of Washington University Libraries’ online repository “Documenting Ferguson.”

Photographer Mark Regester captured this image of protesters Aug. 17 during the height of unrest in Ferguson. This photograph is now part of Washington University Libraries’ online repository “Documenting Ferguson.”

Washington University Libraries, the library system of Washington University in St. Louis, is collecting and preserving photographs, video and other content for the digital repository “Documenting Ferguson.” Free and accessible to all, the online collection will serve as a lasting source of information regarding the Aug. 9 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the ensuing protests and unrest.
Washington University librarians are accepting images, video, audio, artwork and stories related to the memorials, community meetings, rallies and protests occurring in Ferguson and the surrounding areas. Donors must be able to demonstrate clear copyright of materials.

“We want to have a place where anyone can deposit material,” said Rudolph Clay, head of Library Diversity Initiatives and Outreach Services and African & African-American Studies librarian. “There is a lot of content out there, and much of it is available on the Internet. But what happens over time is that a lot of that material disappears, and something you saw today might not be there in a week. We are making a commitment to preserve that material.”

To learn more or to submit material, visit

More and more, the modern library chronicles history as it happens, Clay said. The sheer volume of material available has increased exponentially, as has the ability to share it quickly. But Clay said “Documenting Ferguson” will be more than a clearinghouse. As the repository grows, librarians will provide links to books, scholarly articles and other materials.

“That’s what libraries do best — provide context,” Clay said. “As a library, we can connect users to content, whether it be newspapers or datasets, that deepen understanding and lead to meaningful solutions.”

Another example of a photograph in the archive: Protesters make signs demanding justice in the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown.

Another example of a photograph in the archive: Protesters make signs demanding justice in the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown.

Catalog Down, 2/14 6-10am

On Sunday, February 14th, all I-Share/Voyager-related CARLI-supported systems will go offline for maintenance sometime between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM.

The length of downtime is estimated to be 30 minutes.

I-Share/Voyager services include: VuFind local catalogs, the I-Share union catalog, WebVoyage local catalogs, Z39.50, Voyager staff clients, and Voyager MS Access Reporting.  (Voyager Offline Backup Circ may be used during the downtime, if needed.)

This service interruption is necessary in order to perform operating systems maintenance on these servers.

If you have any problems please contact the Library Services Desk at 309-556-3350.

LYRASIS Selects Participants of the HBCU Library Alliance Photographic Preservation Project

This article originally appeared in InfoDocket, in Library Journal:

LYRASIS and its partners, the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), HBCU Library Alliance, Image Permanence Institute (IPI), and University of Delaware (UD) Art Conservation Department, have selected five Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to participate in the third HBCU Preservation Project. The 28-month project, funded with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, addresses the preservation needs of special photographic and magnetic media collections and enables increased use of this content for instruction and research.

All of the HBCUs that participated in the first two Preservation Projects were invited to apply and the following were selected for participation in the project based on the significance of their collections and institutional capacity related to preservation, special collections and community engagement:
  • The Atlanta University Center – Robert Woodruff Library (GA),
  • Fisk University (TN)
  • Hampton University (VA)
  • Johnson C. Smith University (NC)
  • Tuskegee University (AL)

These HBCUs hold extensive and important collections that document the African American experience from Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Era in photographs and magnetic media (e.g., audio cassette tapes, video tapes, and reel-to-reel tape recordings). Access to much of the content in these collections has been limited or non-existent. Each of these institutions will receive grants of up to $50,000 to fund preservation and access efforts for photographic and/or magnetic media special collections. This may include: repair, cleaning, and re-housing of materials; reformatting of selected collection items; and/or consulting to improve environmental conditions for special collections. During the project, library and archives staff will conduct outreach to faculty and other HBCUs, as well as speak at professional conferences in order to promote use and awareness of the contents of their collections. All five HBCUs will also employ student interns to work on project materials to cultivate an interest among undergraduates in careers in librarianship as well as archival conservation and environmental science.

“I am excited to continue this important work by collaborating with these five institutions and build on the momentum from the first two projects,” stated Steve Eberhardt, HBCU Preservation Project Coordinator at LYRASIS. “This project will increase the impact that these formerly inaccessible, yet extremely valuable and unique collections will have on scholarly research and the documenting of U.S. history.””LYRASIS is honored to be a part of this effort in preserving and sharing this invaluable and culturally rich information with the larger community,” stated Kate Nevins, Executive Director of LYRASIS. “This project is yet another example of our commitment to working with libraries to increase access to content by leveraging digitization, technology and expertise of a diverse and collaborative group of information professionals.”

Celebrate Black History Month with Kanopy

Kanopy celebrates the role and achievements of African Americans in U.S. history through film. Our entire Black History Month collection is now available to watch here.

Little White Lie What defines our identity, our family of origin or the family that raises us? Lacey Schwartz discovers that answering those questions means understanding her parents’ stories as well as her own. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about the legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption.

American Denial: Truth is Deeper than Black & White In his 1944 study of the ‘Negro Problem’ in America, Gunnar Myrdal posed a simple, disturbing question: How can Americans espouse a belief in liberty, equality and equal opportunity while enabling openly racist Jim Crow practices against black citizens?

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow Offers a comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. The story of the struggle during Jim Crow is told through the eyes of those who experienced it: W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells as well as everyday local heroes like “Pap” Singleton.

P.S. I Can’t Breathe (Black Lives Matter) On December 13th, 2014 a multicultural blanket of people united worldwide demanding justice for Eric Garner, a man killed by a Staten Island police officer. P.S. I Can’t Breathe provides a raw, uncensored glimpse into the Millions March NYC immediately AFTER a grand jury deliberated to not indict that same officer.

T’Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness Excavates the hidden sexualities of Black female entertainers who reigned over the nascent blues recording industry of the 1920s. Unlike the male-dominated jazz scene, early blues provided a space for women to take the lead and model an autonomy that was remarkable for women.

The New Black This documentary makes a compelling case that the fight for LGBT rights in Black communities is an extension of the Black Freedom Struggle. It takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland.

Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley – Politics of Race Thirty-five years before Barack Obama was elected President, the question of race and the possibility of bridging racial and ethnic barriers was tested in an overlooked and untold story in American politics: The 1973 election of Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city with a massive white majority.

Emancipation RoaThe story of African Slavery in America started with the first permanent English Colony in the 17th century growing into  and ended with the Civil War. But those two hundred and fifty years of struggle were just the beginning. The beginning of a journey down the long Emancipation Road.

Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans Long ago during slavery, Faubourg Treme was home to a large, prosperous, and artistically flourishing community of free black people. Here black and white, free or enslaved people co-habitated, collaborated, and clashed to create much of what defines New Orleans.

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement 85 year-old barber and life-long civil rights activist James Armstrong looks back on the early days of the civil rights movement and links those struggles with a previously unimaginable dream — the election of the first African-American president.

American Experience: Freedom Summer In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over ten memorable weeks known as the Freedom Summer, 700+ student volunteers, organizers and local African Americans joined in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in the face of segregation.

The Infamous T Homeless, bullied, and failing out of high school, 18-year-old Jonathon is ready for a big change. After a LGBT Host Home Program matches him up with a queer host family,he is struck by the culture-clash and haunted by a lifetime of homophobia and poverty. Jonathon soon realizes that home is more than four walls.

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power Against a backdrop of sex, politics, and race, Anita reveals the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power. Directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, the film is both a celebration of Anita Hill’s legacy and a rare glimpse into her private life with friends and family.

Freedom March Features the San Francisco civil rights protest march of May 26, 1963 in support of the Birmingham, Alabama Campaign against segregation led by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Fifteen thousand people marched in response to a call by S.F. religious and labor organizations, just four months before the Birmingham Church bombing.

Color in the Library

Have you gotten hooked on the latest adult coloring trend? Do you need a break from the semester already? Check out these libraries taking part in #ColorOurCollections, who have made available free coloring books. Color in your favorites and share them with other using the above hashtag. Download copies from:

You can find a list of other participants on Twitter. The image above comes from The Huntington. Happy coloring.