Robert Chew, beloved bad guy on The Wire, has died

Actor Robert Chew, who infused complicated humanity into the character Prop(osition) Joe on The Wire, has died.

Chew had strong ties to Baltimore, where he was born. His first love was music, which he studied at his hometown university, Morgan State.

HIs love for Baltimore translated into three high-profile roles that defined his career. In addition to Prop Joe, the verbally gassy, somewhat sympathetic drug dealer on The Wire, Chew also played Wilkie Collins, a drug supplier in the sixth season (1997-1998) of Homicide: Life on the Streets in a three-part episode, Blood Ties. He also brought to life a shoe salesman in the the TV mini-drama The Corner, based on the book, The corner : A year in the life of an inner-city neighborhood by David Simon and Ed Burns, writers and producers for both The Corner and The Wire.

Chew (52), who suffered from cardiovascular disease, died from a heart attack at his home in Baltimore.

On This Day In History--January 15th: Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in 1929

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Memphis, Tennessee on January 15th, 1929. Born to Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King, his name was originally Michael King.

He became an activist within the African American Civil Rights Movement very early in his life, leading the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott when he was only 26 years old, in 1955. He served as the very first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization which he helped to create. At the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history, he gave his historic "I Have a Dream" Speech which is still famous today and has helped to establish him as one of the greatest orators in American History.

In 1964 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence, a method of protest that he was most famous for. Branching out from his role as an African-American civil rights activist, King also spoke out against the Vietnam War, and became focused on helping the nation's impoverished population. He was in the process of planning a movement called the Poor People's Campaign, but before he could carry it out he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The movement was carried out after his death, with thousands of people turning out to protest. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004

Martin Luther King Day (established in 1986) will be celebrated on Monday, January 21 in 2013. Follow the links for biographies and related books on Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Jan. 21: Youth Will Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at U-M

Mark your calendar for Monday, Jan. 21, when the MLK 2013 Children and Youth Program at U-M will happen from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the U-M Modern Languages Building, 812 E. Washington Street. The program, which is turning 15, will celebrate and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Over the years the program has drawn a total of more than 8,000 K-12 students from schools around southeast Michigan, offering them entertainment, fun, creativity and dialogue through storytelling, discussions, group projects, skits, rap poetry, and music. To register for this year's event, click here.

Sporting Lives


Here are some recent biographies and memoirs to tantalize the sports enthusiast:

Good Son: The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini: Considered by some to be the real life Rocky (Stallone even made a TV movie about him), renowned biographer, Mark Kriegel, writes the life of Mancini like a movie, as his life was like one-rising to the top in the boxing world, hobnobbing with celebrities like Sinatra, to see it come crashing down in one tragic match. Even if you don't like the sport, this will grab your attention.

A father first : how my life became bigger than basketball: Eight time all-star for the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade, and dedicated single father of two sons, talks basketball, while recounting his life overcoming poverty, his mother's drug addiction, and the importance of his own father in raising him.

Solo : a memoir of hope by Hope Solo: An Olympic soccer gold medalist, and one of the best goalkeepers, Solo has an interesting story to tell about growing up on a defunct nuclear testing site in Washington and reconnecting after many years with her ex-con father who was homeless.

One last strike : fifty years in baseball, ten and a half games back, and one final championship season by Tony La Russa; Having been a manager in baseball for that long, La Russa has a lot of stories to tell, but none come close to the 2011 Cardinals comeback from behind to win the World Series.

African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County presents 'Focus on the Arts: Authors'

On Sunday, August 26, 2012, join Washtenaw County in a celebration of African American literature.

Guest speakers include local author Karen Simpson, romance author Beverly Jenkins, and children's author Debbie Taylor.

The event will be hosted from 4-6pm at Washtenaw Community College in the Morris Lawrence Building, Room 150, 4800 E. Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $20 each/$5 for students.

Her Life

The past year has given us a number of excellent LGBT stories, especially from the L and the T. From graphic novels to memoirs to teen fiction, check out one of these incredible stories. You won't be able to put it down.

Are You My Mother?, by Alison Bechdel - Bechdel's amazing 2006 graphic novel, Fun Home, told the story of her relationship with her father and her experiences growing up with him. Are You My Mother gives the same treatment to her other parent. With references to Virginia Woolf and various psychotherapists, Bechdel's recollections are as literary and allusive as they are fascinating.

Pariah - Alike is a 17-year-old living in Brooklyn with her mom, dad, and sister. She is starting to embrace her identity as a lesbian, but this causes tension between her mother and father who differ in their attitudes toward their daughter. Alike's home life and her friends constitute two different worlds, and her struggle to reconcile the two is heartfelt and compelling. This critically acclaimed film currently boasts a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, by Jeanette Winterson - Winterson recounts the story of her early life, growing up with a fanatical mother obsessed with hell and damnation, not unlike the mother character in Carrie. She tells of finding shelter in her local library, discovering poetry and the world of words, and eventually becoming an author herself. This book is a fascinating autobiography of a leading lesbian author. Don't miss it.

Albert Nobbs - The titular character, played by Glenn Close, lives in 19th century Ireland, a time and place unwelcoming of independent women. Nobbs is living the life of a man, working as a butler in an upper class hotel. Nobbs maintains an introverted personality in order to prevent any discovery of the nature of her gender, but when other employees of the hotel get too close, her carefully constructed walls are compromised.

The Difference Between You and Me, by Madeleine George - Two very different high-school girls, Jesse, a politically active outsider, and Emily, a popular girl on the student's council, have been having clandestine meetings in the third-floor library bathroom to kiss. The"opposites attract" formula is put to the test when the two find themselves on opposing sides of a battle about a megastore threatening to crowd out local businesses. This is smart, thoughtful writing that will entertain, but also make teens (and adults) think.

Happy Accidents, by Jane Lynch - Fans of Tina Fey's Bossypants will be tempted to assume the two comedian-penned memoirs are similar, but Lynch's book is less jokey and more personal. She tells it all, from her teenage alcohol abuse to her success as a popular actress. Jane Lynch has led an amazing life, and I'm happy she put it all down on paper for our enjoyment.

Youth Historical Novel: "The Lions of Little Rock"

While researching The Lions of Little Rock, author Kristin Levine zeroed in on 1958 when Little Rock, Arkansas, was starting to react to forced integration of the public schools. By setting her novel at that time, she gives it a compelling undertone, as readers witness the governor closing the high schools and citizens forming groups such as the Women's Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC).

This historical novel for youth offers dynamic characters and plot, starring painfully shy twelve-year-old Marlee. Readers will be moved when Marlee bids good-bye to her beloved older sister who is sent away for high school. Left at home, Marlee struggles to make friends, when suddenly an unexpected friendship with a new girl, Liz, boosts her confidence and helps her to understand where she stands in the fight against racism. I found Levine's book informative, warm, and highly entertaining. Reviews have been strongly positive, including this from the New York Times Book Review: ". . . Satisfying, gratifying, touching, weighty — this authentic piece of work has got soul." Levine also wrote The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults.

Black History Month Concert: An Afternoon With The Rev. Robert B. Jones

Saturday February 18, 2012: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Join us for this special afternoon concert - celebrating Black History month - as Rev. Jones shares his musical talents with us. For over 20 years Rev. Robert Jones has been a champion of American Roots music, with a special emphasis on traditional African-American music. He is also a storyteller, a preacher, an artist, and a teacher.

Stories, spirituals, blues, work songs, field hollers, country music, folk songs, gospel and original songs are all a part of the fabric of America's culture. This is the music that gave the world jazz, R&B, bluegrass, rock and even Hip Hop. They give insight into the way that we have lived and the ways that we continue to live together - celebrate the legacy of this music with renditions from Rev. Jones!

Black and Blue: a Timeless Lesson

Join us at the Downtown library for AADL's screening of "Black and Blue" on Wednesday January 18th from 7:00-8:30 PM. This is the story of the 1934 game between Michigan and Georgia Tech. When the Yellow Jackets agreed to play the Wolverines in Ann Arbor that season, they insisted on one condition – Willis Ward, the lone African-American player on the U of M team, had to sit out the game. Ward's teammates - especially Gerald Ford, Ward's roommate and a UM lineman - were outraged when U-M officials agreed to the demand. The incident galvanized UM students and the Ann Arbor community, which held loud and vocal protests against the decision.

Willis was later inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. Read the article from the May 22, 1981 issue of the Ann Arbor News.

Last Week In Booklists

Notable Dates for the Week of October 16 to October 22

October 16 Freedom From Bullies Week starting from the 16th to 22nd

October 17 Black Poetry Day

October 18 National Chocolate Cupcake Day

October 19 Mother Teresa Day

October 20 44th anniversary of the Patterson-Gimlin filming of Sasquatch

October 21 National Reptile Day

October 22 International Stuttering
Awareness Day

Celebrate each and every day, punctuality may or may not make a difference.

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