Monday, January 16, 2017

"Celebrating Black History and Martin Luther King Jr." | @ the Library Article

Many of us may only think of Black History Month, and this day today honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., because banks are closed, or we have a holiday.  However, your Abilene Public Library would like to remind you that we have a wide variety of historical resources and just plain interesting materials in various formats that can help you learn more about the ever unfolding legacy of Black Americans who have made huge contributions to our culture and lives.

A great book that speaks to this point is Black History: More Than Just a Month by Mike Henry.  Henry believes that U.S. students are less proficient in American history than they used to be, and that they need to learn that history is fun.  He wants to ensure that important, interesting people and events of the past aren't bypassed.  This title talks about many black Americans who are not as well-known as Dr. King, and I found it to be an extremely interesting read.

A great place to find out more about African-American heritage online is our database African American Experience where one can find links to today's news, historical information by time period, and commentary by advisory board members.  Easily searchable and available 24/7, it has so much to offer.  Also available online is the Gale Virtual Reference Library, which hooks you up with biographies of famous black Americans, articles about black history from reputable reference books, and articles covering the gamut of information about contributions to arts and science, sports and human rights.  All of these resources are available with a simple catalog search, or you can search this database by going to the e-Resources link on our homepage.

Sometimes random browsing can find some of the most interesting things.  Clarence B. Jones and Joel Engel's What Would Martin Say? draws on Jones' personal memories as Dr. King's lawyer and advisor to give his take on what Dr. King would have to say today about various issues that plague contemporary America.

Our Kind of People by Lawrence Otis Graham was a super read; with the subtitle "Inside America's Black Upper Class," one gets a look at a world many have no entree into, or might not even have known existed.  Graham, a member of this group he calls "exclusive, mostly hidden...that lives awkwardly between white America and mainstream black America" profiles the people and the lifestyle preoccupied with good hair, light complexions and top credentials in education and the business world.  I found it a fascinating read.

Last, but not lease, while many may not think this is a serious part of black culture, your library has many cookbooks featuring historical and contemporary food from the black tradition.  One such is Delilah's Everyday Soul: Southern Cooking with Style by Delilah Winder.  The recipes reach back to her family roots, and forward to the 'foodie' culture with something for everyone.

While our Main and Mockingbird locations are closed today in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, our South Branch is open, and will be showing the movie Selma beginning at 5:00PM.  We urge you to embrace the opportunity to learn more about black culture, history, food, or whatever aspect you might like to explore during February, or any other time of year at your Abilene Public Library.

Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

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