Tag Archives: Gwen


For the moment, my favorite database in the Library’s Collection is JSTOR, a repository of archival materials of 1000+ scholarly titles on music, humanities, social sciences, art, and science.  It is available for use at the CLP Oakland Library.

JSTOR’s focus is back-issues of titles which are unavailable in many public libraries because of varying demand as well as the ever-increasing costs of storage.  An important value of JSTOR is its provision of full-text articles which in one case dates to the 18th century; in contrast, other databases typically limit full-text provision to materials published after the mid-70s.

In its coverage of nearly 50 disciplines, JSTOR has been a source of information for topics both within and outside the margin of popular, mainstream discourse.  Its inclusion of fifteen titles covering the African American experience, for example, includes Alva Hudson’s comparison (Reading Achievements,  Interests, and Habits of Negro Women) of  the reading habits of poor, middle, and upper-class “Negro” women and is a cornerstone of contemporary studies of intersectionality. Other highlights are Emmett J. Scott’s compilations (Letters of Negro Migrants of 1916-1918, More Letters of Negro Migrants of 1916-1918) of letters to Southern Blacks from friends and family who had moved to the “greener pastures” of the North. More than a million African Americans relocated during the first part of the twentieth century, and few sources relay their hopes and courage and struggles as compellingly as these primary sources. JSTOR holdings supplement the Main Library’s current subscriptions to African-American related journals which include:

American Legacy

Black History Bulletin





Journal of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society


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About 9/11

The Library holds nearly 400 items about September 11, 2001, arguably the most deeply inscribed event in this era’s collective memory.  Coverage via print, film, and audio reflects the tragedy’s impact both on our personal and on our political psyches and the Library’s efforts to address it with fictional and non-fictional literature.

The collection meets the specialized needs of CLP patrons with items for a range of ages, viewpoints, and literary tastes.  A significant number of materials, for example, Playing Dad’s Song, On That Day: A Book of Hope for Children, and Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey offer stories that address youngsters’ questions factually yet with grace and reassurance, and others, via graphic literature such as The 911 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, American Widow, and 9-11: Artists Respond do the same for teens and young adults.  Materials ranging from official documents of the Federal Government to photographic essays to narratives and to viewpoints situated on virtually every point of the political continuum line our shelves.  Finally, the Carnegie Library collection provides a gateway to authors whose works offer us succor and inspiration and thoughts on how to make the world safer for all of us.

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This past weekend, with kindred spirits around the country, I observed Juneteenth Day, a wholly holy day for me.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 granted freedom to enslaved persons in regions controlled by Union forces, and although the eventual surrender of the Confederacy would end the widespread practice of slavery, news about the Proclamation spread unevenly to the enslaved.  The Thirteenth Amendment legally abolished slavery in this country on December 6, 1865.

Texas, the last state to do so, announced the end of slavery within its borders on June 19, 1865, the date now commemorated as Juneteenth.  Juneteenth is recognized in about half of the country’s states–including Pennsylvania–and is typically celebrated with the games, contests and joviality associated with most festivals.  This year I chose to spend my Juneteenth days reflecting on, reading about, expressing appreciation for family, blood and fictive kin, and all unnamed and unknown who precede me.

The paths of my family’s exodus from slavery dot Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia.  They are so heroically uncommon that many, many similar ones are documented by fictional and non-fictional accounts, a number of which are in our collection.  Some to check out are:

Someone Knows My Name, Lawrence Hill.

Lest We Forget: The Passage From Africa to Slavery and Emancipation, Velma Maia Thomas.

The Slave Ship: A Human History, Marcus Rediker.

Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery’s Frontier, Lea VanderVelde.


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