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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Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire

Currently on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art is one of the William L. Clements Library's major artworks, Benjamin West's painting, the Death of General Wolfe (1776). General Wolfe triumphed over the French at the Battle of Quebec in 1759 and it is considered to be the decisive event in determining British domination of North America.

If you would like to know more about the French and Indian War (1754-1763), The war that made America : the story of the French and Indian War is a new acquisition at the Ann Arbor District Library available as a book, video and book on CD.

To further explore the topic we also have The French and Indian War : deciding the fate of North America, The French and Indian War; an Informal History, and Empires at war : the French & Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763.

Robert Bork, controversial legal scholar, Supreme Court nominee, and judge, has died

Robert Bork, an influential conservative legal presence in American history for many decades, has died.

Bork, a former Marine, segued from an attorney in private practice to a professor at Yale Law School. Some of his notable students were Bill and Hillary Clinton, Robert Reich, Anita Hill, and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Bork made first headlines on October, 20, 1973. Richard Nixon, embroiled in the Watergate scandal, demanded that Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox be fired, triggering the Saturday Night Massacre. Both U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than carry out this order. Bork then immediately became Acting Attorney General and complied with Nixon's order, which was found to be illegal in a lawsuit filed in November by Ralph Nader.

Fourteen years later, President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork (who by then was a Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.) for a seat on the Supreme Court. The pushback from Senate Democrats was fierce in light of Bork's support for the South's wish to impose poll taxes and for rolling back key aspects of civil rights. His nomination was rejected and Judge Anthony Kennedy won unanimous approval.

Bork then resigned from the Court of Appeals, accepting a position as senior fellow at the conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

He was back in the news for endorsing Governor Mitt Romney for President on August 2, 2011 for the second time (he had also endorsed Romney on December 15, 2007).

Mr. Bork, who was 85, died of heart complications.

On This Day in History--January 2nd: Isaac Asimov was born in 1920

One of the world’s best-known science-fiction writers and a professor of biochemistry at Boston University, Isaac Asimov was born on January 2nd, 1920 near Smolensk, Russia. Through his dedication to writing and to science he helped to elevate science fiction from pulp magazines to a more intellectual and respected genre.

One of the most prolific writers of all time, he wrote or edited more than 500 books, on subjects as varied as chemistry, biology, the Bible, Shakespeare, modern history, as well as books for preschoolers and college students. He received dozens of awards in his lifetime including six Hugo awards, 3 Nebula awards, and a posthumous induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He even had an asteroid and a crater on Mars named in his honor. Asimov was also a member and Vice President of Mensa, though he found little enjoyment in it, feeling his fellow members were too arrogant about their high IQs. Asimov died in New York, New York on April 6th, 1992.

His more popular works include the Foundation trilogy, Pebble in the Sky, The Stars, Like Dust, and I, Robot, which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2004. Follow the links and you'll find them in AADL's collection!

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Detroit News Fine Arts Writer Michael Hodges Discusses Michigan's Vanishing Train Stations: Architecture, History And Sense Of Place

Wednesday November 28, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

In this lecture and slideshow, Detroit News reporter Michael H. Hodges discusses the functional and stylistic evolution of the train station over the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the range of styles architects employed to both tame and exalt rail transportation.

Hodges' new coffee-table book, Michigan's Historic Railroad Stations photographs and profiles 31 depots (including Ann Arbor) across the state.

Michael will also sign copies of the book (which will be for sale) following the event.

New York Times Historical

The New York Times is available online to library users all the way back to its first issues from 1851. Over 150 years of historic news coverage is available at your fingertips, digitized and fully searchable. Select ‘Page View’ to see complete newspaper pages as they originally appeared in print, or select ‘Full-text PDF’ to see only the article you choose.

Access to all our reference databases and resources is available at every AADL branch and from outside the library with a valid library card. To access New York Times Historical, go to the Research page and from the Newspapers tab, click on New York Times Historical.

Veterans Day 2012: Vietnam Vets Discuss The 50th Anniversary Of The Vietnam War

Thursday November 8, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The Vietnam War was the longest war in US history and 2012 is the year of the United States National Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of America's first involvement in this conflict.

Join a team of Vietnam vets as they reflect on this war and their experiences. The moderator for this panel will be Dale Throneberry, who heads up the Veterans Radio Network and completed his tour in Vietnam as a CW2 pilot. The panel includes Vietnam Vets who served as a radiologist, aircraft commander and a dog handler during the war.

Professor David L. Holmes Discusses His Book "The Faiths Of The Postwar Presidents: From Truman To Obama"

Monday September 17, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

David L. Holmes established himself as a measured voice in the debate over the nation's religious underpinnings with his acclaimed 2006 book The Faiths of the Founding Fathers. With the same judicious approach, he now examines the role of faith in the lives of the twelve presidents who have served since the end of World War II, in The Faiths Of The Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama.

Join us as Professor Holmes discusses his new book and provides enlightening anecdotes of our recent presidents. This event includes a book signing and books will be on sale.

Teamwork and Timbers: It's Barn Raisin' Time!

Saturday September 15, 2012: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Reconstruct a quarter-scale replica barn! Held in partnership with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, this event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience a traditional community barn raising.

Common in Michigan during the late-19th and early-20th centuries, barn raisings are similar to husking bees and quilting bees, where neighbors depended upon each other to accomplish what they could not do alone.

This event is for Grade 3 - Adult.

Screening of Emmy-Nominated PBS Documentary: In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo

Friday September 14, 2012: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Francis O'Donnell and his friend Denis Belliveau took a wild idea -- retrace Marco Polo's entire 25,000-mile, land-and-sea route from Venice to China and back! Join us for the screening of this amazing journey in the Emmy-Nominated 2008 PBS film that was made of their trip: "In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo."

Equal parts travelogue, adventure story, history trek and buddy movie, the 90-minute film weaves footage both from the duo's often perilous voyage and from Marco Polo's descriptions and experiences.

Unfortunately, Francis O'Donnell, filmmaker behind the documentary, will be unable to attend this event to discuss his film - but we hope you join us for the viewing of his extraordinary journey!

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