Category Archives: Reconstruction

SCL Picks: Banned Books Week Edition

Happy First Amendment Day! In honor of Banned Books Week, this week we’ll be highlighting items in the SCL collection that have been at one time or another banned, challenged, or otherwise contested.

Today’s pick is Toni Morrison’s 1987 classic, Beloved:

“Proud and beautiful, Sethe escaped from slavery but is haunted by its heritage–from the fires of the flesh to the heartbreaking challenges to the spirit. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is Toni Morrison’s greatest work.” (Source: Syndetic Solutions

The American Library Association website lists the following points of contention over the years:

“Challenged at the St. Johns County Schools in St. Augustine, FL (1995). Retained on the Round Rock, TX Independent High School reading list (1996) after a challenge that the book was too violent. Challenged by a member of the Madawaska, ME School Committee (1997) because of the book’s language. The 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been required reading for the advanced placement English class for six years. Challenged in the Sarasota County, FL schools (1998) because of sexual material.  Retained on the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 reading listing in Arlington Heights, IL (2006), along with eight other challenged titles.  A board member, elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision-making, raised the controversy based on excerpts from the books she’d found on the Internet.  Challenged in the Coeur d’Alene School District, ID (2007).  Some parents say the book, along with five others, should require parental permission for students to read them.  Pulled from the senior Advanced Placement (AP) English class at Eastern High School in Louisville, KY (2007) because two parents complained that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about antebellum slavery depicted the inappropriate topics of bestiality, racism, and sex.  The principal ordered teachers to start over with The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne in preparation for upcoming AP exams.”

Curious to see what all the fuss is about? Come by the Stone Center Library and read it for yourself!

SCL Boredom-Buster #11: “The pecan orchard: journey of a sharecropper’s daughter,” by Peggy Vonsherie Allen

This week the SCL Boredom-Busters series continues with summer reading recommendations in non-fiction, as a complement to the fiction and poetry titles we’ve highlighted thus far. Today’s pick is:

The pecan orchard: journey of a sharecropper’s daughter, by Peggy Vonsherie Allen.

  • “This is a true story of the struggle, survival, and ultimate success of a large black family in south Alabama who, in the middle decades of the 20th century, lifted themselves out of poverty to achieve the American dream of property ownership. Descended from slaves and sharecroppers in the Black Belt region, this family of hard-working parents and their thirteen children is mentored by its matriarch, Moa, the author’s beloved great grandmother, who passes on to the family, along with other cultural wealth, her recipe for moonshine. . . Told in clean, straightforward prose, the story radiates the suffocating midday heat of summertime cotton fields and the biting winter wind sifting through porous shanty walls. It conveys the implicit shame in “Colored Only” restrooms, drinking fountains, and eating areas; the beaming satisfaction of a job well done recognized by others; the “yessum” manners required of southern society; and the joyful moments, shared memories, and loving bonds that sustain-and even raise-a proud family.” (Source: Syndetic Solutions)

Happy reading! 🙂

Juneteenth: An introduction & UNC resources

On June 19, 1865 – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation – Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX to enforce the previously declared abolition of slavery.

In recognition of this landmark event, Juneteenth was first established as a state holiday in Texas in 1980 and celebrates slavery’s end in the United States. Juneteenth is now celebrated in most states, including North Carolina, and it “celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.”

Here at the Stone Center Library, we encourage you to learn more about this holiday, the events surrounding emancipation, and African-American celebrations in general by recommending a few books to get you started:

Interested in learning more? Don’t forget our Guide to the Web, which includes a list of resources on Emancipation and Reconstruction. Happy reading!

Women’s History Month + new books display, part 1

Last week, we posted a list of new book titles currently on display near the library entrance.  Today and next week, we’ll be highlighting our in-library display, which this month features new arrivals related to women’s history across a variety of genres and topics.

March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “our history is our strength.”  What better way to learn more about women’s history, achievements, and current challenges than turning to some more of the Stone Center Library’s new acquisitions?  Come check us out!

February 25, 1870: Hiram Revels sworn in as first African American U.S. Senator

Did you know?  On this day in 1870, Fayetteville-born Hiram Revels became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Revels (1827-1901) trained as a minister and served the U.S. Union Army as both a recruiter and a chaplain during the Civil War.  Over the course of his life, “”he would develop an impressive resume, serving as a teacher, pastor, lecturer, and public servant” (Middleton 2002: 319).  Following his brief tenure in the U.S. Senate, Revels went on to become the first president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi.

Interested in learning more? Come by the Stone Center Library, where we have plenty of items to get you started:

Biographical sketches:

Essays:

As always, if you have any research questions, don’t hesitate to ask!  We are open Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Our reference chat buddy name is StonecenterRef or you may also contact us via phone or email.  Happy reading!