Tag Archives: slavery

Every Month Could Be Black History Month…

LAV has declared that 2010 is “The Year of the Database.”  This is the first in a series of posts about the extensive suite of electronic resources available to Carnegie Library cardholders.  We hope the resources explored in this series will enrich and enhance your library experience.

Did you know that your library card grants you an all-access, year-round pass to information about black history and culture?  Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh users can read, print, or e-mail materials from The African American Experience, one of the many subscription databases we offer for your recreational and research needs.

Why a subscription database, you ask?  Good question.  The free web does have many credible resources, and it’s getting better all the time.  However, subscription databases contain information a Google search won’t turn up, written and published by companies with high standards for accuracy.  And when you’re trying to learn–especially when you’re pressed for time–do you really want to sacrifice quality for quantity?

Not that The African American Experience skimps on either aspect:  you could spend days browsing the subject headings, which include:

  • Arts and Media
  • Civil Rights
  • Children and Families
  • Literature
  • Religion and Spirituality
  • Slavery
  • War and Military Service
  • Women

The database also bundles information into monthly featured topics like “Jazz Music” and “The Great Migration.”  These spotlight bundles include slideshows, timelines, key works, and links to other resources, so that you can explore a new topic every month with ease.

Other treasures in The African American Experience include:

  • Audio samples of historical African American music
  • Interviews with key historical figures
  • More than 5,000 primary sources, including full-text speeches
  • 4,000+ WPA interviews with former slaves
  • Over 2,500 photographs, illustrations and maps
  • Lesson plans and classroom guides
  • A writing/research skills center for students

The very best part of The African American Experience is, however, the fact that you can use it from any computer that has internet access, provided you have your Carnegie Library card handy.  Whenever possible, we provide 24/7/365 access to our digital resources, so that even when the physical library is closed, you still have access to the very best information.

Think outside the month.  Take a look at The African American Experience and consider making 2010 your own personal Black History Year.

–Leigh Anne

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Juneteenth

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.

–Gwen

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