Wangari Maathai: 1940-2011

This past Sunday marked the sad occasion of the passing of Nobel prize-winning activist Wangari Maathai of Kenya. An environmentalist and an educator, she is perhaps best known for establishing the Green Belt Movement, “a broad-based grassroots organization whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting.” For her efforts, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. You can read more about her remarkable life and achievements here and here.
Dr. Maathai also authored a series of publications, several of which are available here at the Library:

You can also read about the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in more detail here. You may also view and share condolences here.

SCL Boredom-Buster #14: "Homeland: an extraordinary story of hope and survival," by George Hussein Obama

Last week’s poetry recommendations included an anthology inspired by President Obama’s first 100 days in office. Today’s Boredom-Buster was likewise motivated by the Commander-in-Chief, but this time the connection is familial. Check out:

Homeland: an extraordinary story of hope and survival, by George Hussein Obama with Damien Lewis.

  • Homeland is the remarkable memoir of George Obama, President Obama’s Kenyan half brother, who found the inspiration to strive for his goal–to better the lives of his own people–in his elder brother’s example . . . The father they shared was as elusive a figure for George as he had been for Barack; he died when George was six months old. . . When he was twenty, he and three fellow gangsters were arrested for a crime they did not commit and imprisoned for nine months in the hell of a Nairobi jail. In an extraordinary turn of events, George went on to represent himself and the other three at trial. The judge threw out the case, and George walked out of jail a changed man. . . George was inspired by his older brother’s example to try to change the lives of his people, the ghetto-dwellers, for the better. . . ‘My brother has risen to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world. Here in Kenya, my aim is to be a leader amongst the poorest people on earth–those who live in the slums.’ George Obama’s story describes the seminal influence Barack had on his future and reveals his own unique struggles with family, tribe, inheritance, and redemption.” (Source: Syndetic Solutions)

We hope you’re enjoying our Boredom-Busters series, and that it’s inspired you to make some additions to your summer reading list. A quick recap of this week’s highlights is listed below, and you can check out the whole series-in-progress by clicking here.

 
Next week, our July Boredom-Busters concludes with a return to recommendations in fiction. Happy reading and have a great weekend! 🙂

SCL Boredom-Buster #13: "Nobody Called Me Charlie," by Charles Preston

Good morning, y’all! Today’s Boredom-Buster is:

Nobody called me Charlie: the story of a radical white journalist writing for a Black newspaper in the Civil Rights era, by Charles Preston.

  • In the 1940s, at the height of segregation, Charles Preston became the unlikely newest worker at a black owned-and-operated newspaper. Preston, a white man and, unbeknownst to most of his colleagues, a member of the Communist Party, quickly came face to face with issues of race and injustice that would profoundly impact his life and change the way he understood United States society. This fictionalized account . . . takes on the central question of this nation’s history: can a truly human and humane society be built on a foundation of profound and pervasive racial inequality? Of course, the answer is no. Yet how do we make such a society? Or put another way, how must white people try to live their lives and how must they connect with their black brothers and sisters, personally and politically, to make a world in which the horrible scars of racism are healed once and for all? The answer that shines through Preston’s book–whether he is writing (and reporting) about work, local politics, the civil rights struggle, housing, education, entertainment,travel, sports, business, child-rearing, friendship, or intimate relationships–is that whites must do what he did: give up their whiteness. This is a book you will not forget.” (Source Syndetic Solutions)

Enjoy! And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for our next pick! 🙂

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! 🙂

New display at the Stone Center Library!

Come by the library and check out our newly updated display! Featuring recent acquisitions in literature, history, politics, women’s studies, and music. Selections include Young Mandela, Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens, Terry McMillan’s Getting to Happy, and Jay-Z’s memoir, Decoded.

SCL Picks: Call the Lost Dream Back (Essays on History, Race and Museums)

TGIF!  This week, the Stone Center Library recommends: Call The Lost Dream Back: Essays on History, Race and Museums (2010), written by Lonnie G. Bunch III and published by The AAM (American Association of Museums) Press.
“Lonnie G. Bunch, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, is one of the museum profession’s leading writers and thinkers.  In this collection of his work from the mid-1980s to the present, including new chapters written for this book, Bunch presents a personal and passionate view of American history, ‘the Gordian knot’ of race relations, and the role of the museum in shaping the perspective of a nation.”
Essays include:

  • “Embracing Ambiguity: the Challenge of Interpreting African American History in Museums” (2005)
  • “Flies in the Buttermilk: Museums, Diversity, and the Will to Change” (2000)
  • “Curating the Recent Past: the Woolworth Lunch Counter, Greensboro, North Carolina” (1996)
  • “Embracing controversy: Museum Exhibitions and the Politics of Change” (1992)

All in all, this is an excellent collection for anyone interested in museum studies, the politics of representation, issues of collective memory, and the African American experience.  But don’t just take our word for it, here’s a sampling of what other reviewers have said….
“Lonnie Bunch is a national treasure. His collection of essays with the evocative title addresses a range of personal and professional issues dealing with history, race and the purpose of museums. Not only is the author an astute interpreter of episodes in our own nation’s history, but he is also an international traveler who takes the reader to Ghana, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and even the River Jordan. Bunch combines a lively and engaging writing style with a scholar’s sensibility to produce a must-read volume.” 
–Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States (2004-2008), visiting professor, University of Maryland
 “Call the Lost Dream Back is a powerful, thought-provoking journey through the life and professional career of a leading public historian. Lonnie Bunch’s essays are poignantly written and compel the reader to think in new and important ways about the power and possibilities of museums and history. The author reminds us of the importance of an open mind, sensitive observation, and the ability to embrace change for the continued evolution of both individuals and societies.” 
–Spencer R. Crew, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of American, African American and Public History, George Mason University
 “Lonnie Bunch’s moving experiences are told personally, yet convey universal values and lessons. As the founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum for over 20 years, I believe that Call the Lost Dream Back captures the essence and importance of culturally-specific institutions. Its insights are a must-read for every museum professional and for all who are committed to a more inclusive America.” 
–Irene Hirano Inouye
Interested in learning more?  Check out the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture website.  You can also find more of Dr. Bunch’s writings online, such as this recent essay on museums and race.  Happy reading!
Summary and reviews from: The ALA Store.

New @the SCL: family stories, personal journeys, and cultural migrations

Today’s post wraps up the last of the Stone Center Library’s new books currently on display.  Interested in topics such as migration, social history, and compelling family biographies?  Check out these titles, newly available @your Stone Center Library:

“Tim Brannigan tells of his time as a republican prisoner and his attempts to find the father who abandoned him.”

“Damn Near White is an insider’s portrait of an unusual American family. Readers will be drawn into Carolyn’s journey as she struggles to redefine herself in light of the long-buried secrets she uncovers. Tackling issues of class, color, and caste, Wilkins reflects on the changes of African American life in U.S. history through her dedicated search to discover her family’s powerful story.”

“This is Hirsi Ali’s intellectual coming-of-age, a memoir that conveys her philosophy as well as her experiences, and that also conveys an urgent message and mission—to inform the West of the extent of the threat from Islam, both from outside and from within our open societies. A celebration of free speech and democracy, Nomad is an important contribution to the history of ideas, but above all a rousing call to action.”

“Rutkoff (American studies) and Scott (history, both Kenyon College) place the 20th-century migration of African Americans from the US South north and west in the context of earlier migrations both inplace and in culture. Among their topics are leaving West Africa, Harlem as the negro capital of the world, blues pianos and tricky baseballs in Pittsburgh, Walkin’ Egypt in the Mississippi Delta, California dreaming in South Central Los Angeles, and three stories and a conclusion to close the circle.”

“This is the history of “the work and workers connected with the founding and development of Oak Hill Industrial Academy.” The academy was “established for the benefit of the Freedmen of the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.”

“At the turn of the nineteenth century, James Vann, a Cherokee chief and entrepreneur, established Diamond Hill, the most famous plantation in the southeastern Cherokee Nation. In this first full-length study to reconstruct the history of the plantation, Tiya Miles tells the story of Diamond Hill’s founding, its flourishing, its takeover by white land-lottery winners on the eve of the Cherokee Removal, its decay, and ultimately its renovation in the 1950s.”


Believe it or not, this week’s highlights are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new acquisitions here at the Library.  Please be sure to tune in tomorrow for this week’s Staff Pick. Happy Library Week, everyone!

New @the SCL: family stories, personal journeys, and cultural migrations

Today’s post wraps up the last of the Stone Center Library’s new books currently on display.  Interested in topics such as migration, social history, and compelling family biographies?  Check out these titles, newly available @your Stone Center Library:

“Tim Brannigan tells of his time as a republican prisoner and his attempts to find the father who abandoned him.”

“Damn Near White is an insider’s portrait of an unusual American family. Readers will be drawn into Carolyn’s journey as she struggles to redefine herself in light of the long-buried secrets she uncovers. Tackling issues of class, color, and caste, Wilkins reflects on the changes of African American life in U.S. history through her dedicated search to discover her family’s powerful story.”

“This is Hirsi Ali’s intellectual coming-of-age, a memoir that conveys her philosophy as well as her experiences, and that also conveys an urgent message and mission—to inform the West of the extent of the threat from Islam, both from outside and from within our open societies. A celebration of free speech and democracy, Nomad is an important contribution to the history of ideas, but above all a rousing call to action.”

“Rutkoff (American studies) and Scott (history, both Kenyon College) place the 20th-century migration of African Americans from the US South north and west in the context of earlier migrations both inplace and in culture. Among their topics are leaving West Africa, Harlem as the negro capital of the world, blues pianos and tricky baseballs in Pittsburgh, Walkin’ Egypt in the Mississippi Delta, California dreaming in South Central Los Angeles, and three stories and a conclusion to close the circle.”

“This is the history of “the work and workers connected with the founding and development of Oak Hill Industrial Academy.” The academy was “established for the benefit of the Freedmen of the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.”

“At the turn of the nineteenth century, James Vann, a Cherokee chief and entrepreneur, established Diamond Hill, the most famous plantation in the southeastern Cherokee Nation. In this first full-length study to reconstruct the history of the plantation, Tiya Miles tells the story of Diamond Hill’s founding, its flourishing, its takeover by white land-lottery winners on the eve of the Cherokee Removal, its decay, and ultimately its renovation in the 1950s.”


Believe it or not, this week’s highlights are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new acquisitions here at the Library.  Please be sure to tune in tomorrow for this week’s Staff Pick. Happy Library Week, everyone!

Dr. Manning Marable (May 13, 1950 – April 1, 2011)

Reknown Malcolm X scholar Dr. Manning Marable passed away last Friday, April 1 at the age of 60.   Dr. Marable studied at Earlham College (A.B. ’71), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.A. ’72), and earned his Ph.D. in American History at the University of Maryland in 1976.  Dr. Marable would go on to pursue his scholarship at Cornell University, Fisk University, Colgate University, Ohio State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, and most recently, Columbia University, where he served as M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies.
A prolific researcher, Dr. Marable produced nearly 300 articles and close to 20 books over the course of his storied career in African American studies.  His latest work, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, was published today and is on order at the UNC Undergraduate Library.  In the meantime, here at the Stone Center Library, we encourage you to make use of our resources if you’re interested in examining Dr. Marable’s academic legacy in more detail.  For example, here are a handful of his books available here at the Library:

A full list of our holdings authored and/or edited by Dr. Marable is also available here.
 
 

Women's History Month + new books display, part 2

On Friday, we started a list of new titles currently on display in honor of Women’s History Month.  Below is part two, which we welcome you to explore further by clicking on the links, or coming by the library to browse in person!

Interested in learning more?  Don’t forget that, from the comfort of your own home, you can also access the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web, which has a section of resources on women’s history available here.  Happy reading!