The Signal of Liberty, Ann Arbor's 1840s-era abolitionist newspaper, goes online

Signal of Liberty issueSignal of Liberty issue

Join us at the Traverwood branch on Saturday, October 17, 2-4:00 p.m. to help us launch the online version of Ann Arbor's Signal of Liberty newspaper. The full text of this abolitionist newspaper, published in Ann Arbor in the 1840s, will be available online for the first time. Carol Mull, local historian of the Underground Railroad in Michigan, will be on hand at the launch to talk about some of the unique content in the Signal of Liberty and its role in her research; and Library staff will demonstrate browsing and full text access to over 12,000 articles and 312 issues of the newspaper. This project was done in partnership with the Bentley Historical Library and Digital Library Productions Services.

On Sunday, October 18, from 2-5:00 p.m., the African American Cultural and Historical Museum will host a related "Journey to Freedom" bus tour of local stops on the Underground Railroad. Click here for additional information about the tour.

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

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48 years ago today President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. (News outlets claim he is spending the day at the White House, lunching with the entire Senate Democratic Caucus.) On his birthday, August 4, 1961, John F. Kennedy held the office of the presidency in a very different United States of America. To explore the journey of Obama from Hawaii to Washington D.C., visit the AADL for a wealth of material, including books, dvds, books on CD and videos about this history-making man.

Culture of Struggle, Culture of Faith: A Juneteenth Event Featuring LaRon Williams

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Join celebrated storyteller LaRon Williams at Traverwood on Friday June 19 at 6pm as he commemorates Juneteenth, the oldest celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. Browse our collection of Juneteenth books here, including Ralph Ellison's Juneteenth, which deals with the holiday and its traditions.

(Audio) Fabulous Fiction Firsts #162

Sea of Poppies*, is the first volume of the Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh, one of India's best known writers and was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.

At the heart of this vibrant 19th century saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China's vicious Opium Wars. Among the crew and cast are a motley array of sailors, stowaways, Indians and Westerners inexplicably connected by family, loyalty, honor, survival, greed, and imperialism. The vast sweep of this historical adventure embraces the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the crowded backstreets of Canton (China). “But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself that makes Sea a masterpiece. “ ~Boston Globe

Admittedly a bit daunting for readers unfamiliar with the history, culture, languages of Indian sub-continent but narrator Phil Gigante’s nuanced performance brings the book to life.

* = Starred reviews

Happy Birthday Marvin Gaye!

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Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr., better known as Motown legend Marvin Gaye, was born April 2, 1939. Celebrate this singer/songwriter's birthday by checking out some of his music from the AADL. Try Blue Velvet: The Ultimate Collection by his early R&B band The Moonglows, or pick up some of his solo classics like the 1971 release What's Going On, his 1973 release Let's Get It On, Love Songs, or the Marvin Gaye Concert Anthology.
To learn more about this Grammy winning musician and his tragic personal life, check out the biography Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye, Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, or What's Going On? : Marvin Gaye and the Last Days of the Motown Sound. Many Marvin Gaye fans also recommend reading Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, which isn't terribly well-written, but is largely based on interviews for a projected autobiography that was cancelled after Gaye's death in 1984.

Pulp

Pulp Tree

Jet - March 16 issue

Page 14 Black History
March 11th 1959: Lorraine Hansberry was the first Black woman to premiere her play, A Raisin in the Sun, on Broadway.
March 15 1999: Maurice Ashley was the first Black man to attain the coveted chess rank of "Grand Master".

Page 26 Where Are Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.?
The lead singers of the group 5th Dimension have made an album to celebrate 40 years of marraige entitled The Many Faces of Love.

Check out a recent Black History publication:
The African American experience : black history and culture through speeches, letters, editorials, poems, songs, and stories

Underground Railroad Display

Enjoy colorful creations by Judy Schmidt of Ann Arbor Storyteller’s Guild fame who incorporated the Monkey Wrench, Flying Geese, Bear Paw and other designs into her beautiful quilts. Stop by the glass case in the Downtown Youth Department to see books about the Underground Railroad and the much discussed Quilt Code and then check out Karen Simpson's lovely quilts on the far wall of the Youth Department. Maybe they will inspire you to color a quilt design of your own and hang it beside hers!

Happy Birthday Alice Walker!

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Happy Birthday to one of my favorite writers, Alice Walker. Born February 9, 1944, she is best known as the author of The Color Purple, which won her a Pulitzer Prize. A self-proclaimed "womanist", she is politically active in several different areas that often surface in her work: civil rights, the anti-nuclear movement, the environment, the women’s movement, and the movement to protect indigenous peoples. Her fight to end female circumcision in Africa is discussed in Warrior Marks : Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women, as well two of her fictional works The Temple of My Familiar and Possessing the Secret of Joy. Walker was the editor of I love myself when I am laughing ... and then again when I am looking mean and impressive : a Zora Neale Hurston reader and was instrumental in bringing Hurston's work back into print. She has published an impressive amount of her own work as well, including novels, short story collections, poetry, children's books, essays, and autobiographical reflections. Click here to watch Alice Walker share a poem she wrote to mark the inauguration of Barack Obama, and to see her speak with legendary 93-year-old civil rights activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs.

The Best of Everything By Kimerla Lawson Roby

The Best of Everything written by Kimberla Roby Lawson is the next installment in the Curtis Black series. The Best of Everything is about Curtis Black's daughter, Alicia.

Alicia has now graduated from college and is married to Phillip Sullivan, her father’s new associate minister. Alicia has always had the best of everything, thanks to her father, but now that she is married, she can no longer expect or rely on her father to support her financially. Alicia is fully aware that her husband cannot provide for her the same way her father has, yet she continues to shop. Her husband slowly becomes aware of her shopping habits. He makes it clear to her that her spending is out of control and he tries to set limits on her, but being the selfish and deceitful person that Alicia is, she continues to rack up debt—not only in her name, but Phillip’s name as well. Needless to say her spending causes turmoil in the marriage, but Alicia seems unable to stop shopping.

Happy Birthday Langston Hughes!

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Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. He traveled all over the world - to Europe, Africa, Mexico, the USSR - but his heart and home were in Harlem, where he was one of the most versatile writers of the artistic movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. Known primarily as a poet, Hughes also wrote plays, essays, novels, short stories, and books for children. Check out the AADL's large collection of Langston Hughes materials and enjoy his rich, vibrant portrayal of black American culture.

With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man's soul.
O Blues!
- from "The Weary Blues", Langston Hughes, 1926

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