Library Juice 2:32, August 18, 1999



1. John Berry Editorial: Culturally Competent Service
2. Assorted links on African Americans in the info universe
3. Western Journal of Black Studies
4. African American Male Research
5. Race Traitor
6. Khocolate Keepsakes
7. Encarta Africana
8. _Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship_
9. Database of 4,000 images of African-American educational scenes
10. US Postal Service Black History Stamps

Quote for the week:

"My Alma mater was books, a good library . . . I could spend the rest
of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity."

   Malcolm X, _Autobiograhy of Malcolm X_

Homepage for the week: Chris Dodge's page, "Street Librarian"


1. John Berry Editorial: Culturally Competent Service

A new mandate to serve a new majority$28952

The idea of "culturally competent" library service is nothing new to librarians from the African American community or the many other ethnic and cultural constituencies in contemporary America. Yet true cultural competence has rarely blessed our professional practice or even penetrated our professional consciousness.

2. Assorted links on African Americans in the info universe

Black Caucus of the ALA.  Founded in 1970, the BCALA was organized
to promote the development of library and information services for
African Americans and other people of African descent.

ALA's Spectrum Initiative, the scholarship program:

Quarterly Black Review of Books

Mosaic Books - Black Literary Showcase

Cooperative Children's Book Center's list of Small Presses Owned
and Operated by People of Color

Web Directory:

The Black World Today - an online journal of opinion

News from FAIR: Media Blackface: "Racial Profiling" in News Reporting

More articles at FAIR's Racism Watch Desk

National Black Media Coalition

NewsWatch Project: A project of the Center for Integration and Improvement
of Journalism, San Francisco State University Journalism Department

Crashmedia article: Reel Heroes & Villains -
The Black Liberation Archive that Survived Hollywood


3. Western Journal of Black Studies

The Western Journal of Black Studies now presents The WJBS
Online Journal as an addition to our normal subscription
hardcopy. The WJBS Online Journal is designed to provide you
with easy access to the most current volume and the volumes of
the past two years. We have designed this site to be an instrument
that you can employ to effortlessly view each issue of the journal.
It provides you with links to each article's reference section and if
used in conjuction with The WJBS Online Research Site it can be
a powerful tool for both the novice researcher and the professional
scholar.  Articles are available as Adobe PDF files.  Access to full-text
is by subscription only.

[ From News of New Electronic Journals - ]

4. African American Male Research

    African American Male Research is based in Washington, D.C. and is
edited by Chris Booker.  AAMR welcomes articles, abstracts, original
documents, or other information related to advancing the research and
advocacy interests of African American males.


     African American Male Research aims to fulfill the burning need for
     timely, consistent, and incisive analysis of the social, economic,
     and political conditions surrounding the African American male. On a
     bi-monthly basis AAMR will: 

     Summarize the latest social scientific findings most important to the
     African American male's interests and status. 

     Provide timely accounts of the most important news developments
     impacting the Black male's status. 

     Review legislation and related policy developments important to the
     African American male's collective interests. 

     Review and dissect the most important political developments
     impacting African American males across the nation. 

     Analyze economic trends and developments critical to the future
     social, economic, and political status of the Black male future. 

     Advocate projects, programs, and policies in the interests of the
     African American male and the entire national Black community. 

[ From News of New Electronic Journals - ]

5. Race Traitor

Now on newsstands, the Winter issue of Race Traitor features a call
to renew the legacy of John Brown and a public observance of his
birth on John Brown Day 1999. Events are already planned for North
Elba, NY, Altadena, CA, and Osawatomie, KS.

Contents include Beth Henson's Plowshares into Swords: John Brown and
the Poet of Rage, An Appreciation of the Work of Russell Banks;
Abolitionism and the White Studies Racket, based on a talk given by
Noel Ignatiev at UC Riverside, Constructing Whiteness at the Gates of
Hell: Black 47's 'Five Points' by Lauren Onkey; Part II of Loren
Goldner's Race and Enlightenment; and more.

The New Abolitionist Society has recently launched a very active web
site which features the full text of their newsletters (also
available in PDF format) and news of their organizing. Visit their
site for the latest information on John Brown Day events.

Finally, several articles from our recent Special Issue Surrealism:
Revolution Against Whiteness are now available online: Burning the
Days, Murderous Humanitarianism (1932), and For Tyree Guyton.

What We Believe:

The white race is a historically constructed social formation. It
consists of all those who partake of the privileges of the white skin
in this society. Its most wretched members share a status higher, in
certain respects, than that of the most exalted persons excluded from
it, in return for which they give their support to a system that
degrades them.

The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the
white race, which means no more and no less than abolishing the
privileges of the white skin. Until that task is accomplished, even
partial reform will prove elusive, because white influence permeates
every issue, domestic and foreign, in U.S. society.

The existence of the white race depends on the willingness of those
assigned to it to place their racial interests above class, gender,
or any other interests they hold. The defection of enough of its
members to make it unreliable as a predictor of behavior will lead to
its collapse.

Race Traitor aims to serve as an intellectual center for those
seeking to abolish the white race. It will encourage dissent from the
conformity that maintains it and popularize examples of defection from
its ranks, analyze the forces that hold it together and those that
promise to tear it apart. Part of its task will be to promote debate
among abolitionists. When possible, it will support practical
measures, guided by the principle, Treason to whiteness is loyalty to

The editors publish things in Race Traitor because they think that
publishing them will help build a community of readers. Editorial
opinions are expressed in editorials and unsigned replies to letters.

6. Khocolate Keepsakes

by Teri Weesner, Youth Services Editor

The cover of Cognotes' wrapup issue features a photo of elementary
school children with one of the story quilts they created in
celebration of Coretta Scott King Award winning books. Twenty-two
children and eighteen adults, the students, parents, teachers and
principal from Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, made the
journey from Los Angeles to New Orleans to participate in the
celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards.
Their program, "Khocolate Keepsake: Literacy and the Coretta Scott King
Books" was the most authentic and moving program I attended at ALA. A
fortunate few of us were able to see firsthand through drama, dance and
poetry, the results of an inovative after school program. The
children's stellar performance, their enthusiastic presence on the
convention floor as both attendees and informative and gracious hosts of
their booth, and their beautiful story quilts were a joy to behold. The
children and their story quilts are shining examples of creativity,
tradition and community oriented programing at its apex.

Los Angeles--
Khocolate Keepsakes, an inovative K-5 after school program at Martin
Luther King Jr. Elementary School, initiated by principal Fanny
Humphery, is a collaboration between the Los Angeles Unified School
District and the Khocolate Keepsakes Literacy Museum. A group of twenty
students met twice a week with teachers Lisa Boutillier and Ginnene
Branch and the founders of the Khocolate Keepsakes Literacy Museum,
Camille Neely and Carliss McGhee. The children read, discuss and learn
about the stories, authors, and illustrators of the finest African
American children's literature. The children's creative response to
this body of work is the creation of story quilts. Over the last two
years, the children have made two story quilts. This process involves
many different skills, including planning, math, and teamwork as well
as various art techniques. The quilt panels represent the books they
have read and learned from. (A complete list of Coretta Scott King
Award Winner and Honor books amy be found at Exciting and inspiring aspects of
the program include the children's visits to other schools to share
what they have learned and created. his progrm has received immense
support from parents, the principal and the Crayola Company, which has
donated materials.

New Orleans--
At "Khocolate Keepsake: Literacy and the Coretta Scott King Books"
(ALA, Monday, 3-5pm) all the children participated in a dramatization
of discovery, incorporating titles they had read with the refrain, "Is
this heaven? This must be heaven!" (Heaven is this year's CSK Award
winner by Angela Johnson (1998). Simon & Schuster Books for Young
Readers: New York) There was also a beautiful solo dance. Finally, a
powerful recital by four girls of a poem about the four young girls
killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing brought us all to tears.
More tears came when the Camille Neely and Carliss Mcghee talked about
what it means to be involved in Khocolate Keepsakes and honored the
teachers and principal with certificates of recognition. The attending
parents were also given props for the significance of their support and
involvement with their children and the program. A video clip showed
the children in a book discussion.

The authors and illustrators were able to respond to and honor the
children's efforts (including their journey from L.A. to LA) by coming
to the Khocolate Keepsakes booth and signing the quilt panels which
represented their books. The authors and illustrators also made visits
to children at public libraries in New Orleans during their time at the
conference. (Unfortunately, I only made it to the last half of the
Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast, so I missed the presentation of
the quilt somewhere between 7&8am. Yikes! Talk about early on the last
day of the conference! I thought all I would miss would be a meal I
couldn't afford.) However, I did hear and immensly enjoy the speeches
of the authors and illustrators as they talked about the works they had
created and their relationship to them. But nothing compares to the
relationship of the children to the books they read...That, is heaven!

Story Quilts--
Read more about the tradition of African American story quilts.


Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringold's French collection and other
story quilts. (1998). University of California Press: Berkeley, CA.

Encyclopedia Smithsonian. (2-22-99). Always there: The African American
presence in American quilts.

Freeman, Roland L. (1996). A communion of the spirits: African American
quilters, preservers and their stories.  Rutledge Hill: Nashville, TN.

Tobin, Jacqueline L. and Raymond G. Dobard. (1999). Hidden in plain
view: The secret of story quilts and the Underground Railraoad.
Doubleday: New York.

Juvenile Nonfiction:

Lyons, Mary E. (1993). Stitching stars: The story quilts of Harriet
Powers.  C. Scribners Sons: New York.

Picture Books:

*Flournoy, Valerie. pictures by Jerry Pinkney. (1985). The patchwork
quilt.  Dial Books for Young Readers: New York. *(1986 CSK Illustrator

Hopkinson, Deborah. paintings by James Ransome. (1993). Sweet Clara and
the freedom quilt.  Alfred Knopf: New York.

Ringold, Faith. (1992). Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the sky.
Crown: New York.

*Ringold, Faith. (1991). Tar beach.  Crown: New York.
*(1992 CSK Illustrator Award)


Perry, Phyliss Alesia. (1998). Stigmata.  Hyperion: New York.

Here are the story quilts on display in New Orleans:


7. Encarta Africana

On Tue, 23 Feb 1999, Anita Samuel wrote:
> ****Please reply to samuel[at]****
> I just heard Henry Gates Jr. on the Tom Joyner Show talking about his new
> product: an encyclopedia on cd.  It's my understanding that Gates'
> expertise is African American literature.  Has anyone read reviews of it
> by African American historians?  Is it a worthwhile investment for a small
> library?
> Anita
> Be a blessing!!

  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .

Date:    Wed, 24 Feb 1999 19:58:09 EST
From:    Braham - Brenda <bbraham[at]>
Subject: Re: Cooperative Efforts -Reply

It's interesting that this comes up at this time.  I recently read a
message from another listserv I am on about this CD.  I think it is
Encarta Africana or something close.  Anyway, Molefi Asante, who is the
African Studies coordinator at Temple University, has serious misgivings
about this product.  I don't know if I still have the other message or
not.  If I do, I will post to the list.  Brenda Braham, Montgomery College

  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .

The CD-Rom is very inexpensive  (I think no more than $50)

Gates' official field may be African American literature, but he is also
the Chair of the Afro-American Studies Department and Director of the W.E.B. Du
Bois Institute for Afro-American Studies at Harvard University and one of
America's leading intellectuals, black _or_ white.
encyclopedia was an idea originally championed by W.E.B. Dubois.

see for reviews

Jennie Berkson
Reference Librarian
Glenview Public Library
1930 Glenview Road
Glenview, IL   60025
(847) 729-7500
  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  ..  .

I did find the message I referred to about the Encarta Africana.  You can
read for yourself what Molefi Asante thinks about the product.  Brenda
Braham, Montgomery College

Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 14:11:06 -0600
From: Ukali Mwendo <ukali[at]>
Subject: Encarta Africana - Scholarship or Pimping?
To: "Nexus Network"[at]
Errors-to: ukali[at]
Reply-to: ukali[at]
Message-id: <199901292011.PAA09938[at]>
MIME-version: 1.0
X-Mailer: DiffondiCool V3.1.1 (W95/NT) Delfino Solutions (Build: Nov  7 1998)

Nexus Neighbors:

The review below by Molefi Asante is passed on to us from Bro. Raymond Winbush
(Fisk University) who is an active advocate, advisor and curator of the
(original) Encyclopaedia Africana Project -- EAP -- as envisioned by our
esteemed ancestors Kwame Nkrumah and W.E.B. DuBois.

Some of us are aware of the controversy surrounding this undertaking (EAP) and
the efforts being made to undermine and usurp it historic importance, so this
essay by one of our leading scholars is both timely and necessary.

As a supporter of the EAP, I encourage each of you to study, take heed and *act*
upon this message. The EAP Home Page is located at:


Peace and Power,



-----Original Message-----
From: molefi asante [mailto:76104.440[at]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 1999 9:19 AM
To: INTERNET:rwinbush[at]
Subject: RE: scholarship or pimping?

Ray, you might want to see the piece that I sent to New York Times and the
Chronicle, Stay in the Struggle, Victory is Certain!

REVIEW OF MICROSOFT ENCARTA AFRICANA edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and
K. Anthony Appiah, 1999.

                "African slaves or enslaved Africans?" that is the question
that has caused so much African controversy around  Microsoft's Encarta
Africana. The issue is far more complex than the choice of words;  however,
the choice of terms does signal how this project was poorly conceptualized.
Encarta Africana announces itself as the "comprehensive encyclopedia of
black history and culture with authoritative content,"   but it is far from
comprehensive or authoritative,  and worse, has numerous  inaccuracies and
incomplete articles. . One would have thought that with a reported three
millions dollars,  the editors, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kwame Appiah,
would have been able to deliver  a much more polished product, both
technologically and scholarly.   Originally conceived as a completion to
the famed project, Encyclopedia Africana, devised by Kwame Nkrumah and W.
E. B. Du Bois, the Microsoft Encarta Africana project was embroiled in
controversy with Ghana over the name itself. Thus, Encarta Africana was
chosen as the name of the present project.

        Among the impressive features of the interactive encyclopedia are
articles, audio clips, videos, and virtual tours. But these are features
that can be bought for the price of money.  What cannot be bought and
therefore is missing, although it is essential for a project purporting to
be comprehensive on the African world, is an accurate and rational
point-of-view.  Encarta Africana is more like a collection of documents
from someone's attic, put together without any real order, organization, or
objective. In this respect, it is little more than the sum total of the
numerous articles, some clearly dated, and audio visuals presented in the
encyclopedia, a grab bag of cultural and historical artifacts.

        To be fair to the editors and writers of the Encarta I have
examined the project from an Afrocentric point-of-view, that is, from the
standpoint of the agency of African people and the centrality of Africa in
its own story. My views, therefore, will be severe on any project that
ostensibly claims to be about African culture and history but is really the
projection of Europe on and in Africa. I do not claim that this is a
conscious activity on the part of the editors and authors; rather it is a
default position in any intellectual adventure in the West if one is not
self- consciously directed toward a corrective. Some writers have escaped
the noose more easily than others; some remain oblivious to the danger. The
writers of Encarta are frequently trapped into arrogant Eurocentric
postures because they have little understanding of the totality of the
story that they are trying to tell. So in telling a European story of the
history and culture of Africa they become, more than anything, appendages
to Europe; thereby peripheralizing Africa while writing about it. Neither
Europeans nor Africans can really appreciate a project that rehashes so
many sterile ideas.

        This is certainly not the project that Du Bois envisioned. It is
not the project that should have been developed at this juncture in African
history. In many respects it is a great disservice to the African people
and is once again an indication of what happens to our own story when it is
told by someone else. Of course, there are a some African writers in this
project, but the overwhelming list of writers seems to indicate that the
work was done primarily by European writers, despite the impressive board
of black advisors.  If this proves to be so, as I suspect simply by the
name and credential list of the authors, then we are setback, by this
process, for a generation. Fortunately the Afropaedia and other products do
exist as correctives.

        I am not saying that whites cannot write about Africa. Indeed
whites often do write well about Africa, particularly if they are
Afrocentric in their methods and approaches to African phenomena. However,
since most whites tend  to be Eurocentric in their perspective  then what
they write will reflect how Europeans see Africa and Africans. The same can
be said of Africans who have imbibed an Eurocentric worldview. It is not
race, but perspective that matters in the process of analysis. Where one
stands has a lot to do with what one sees and how far one sees.

        There are some serious problems with Encarta.

        My own analysis shows four areas that are quite deficient:
conceptual, linguistic, factual, and political.

        The conceptual problem, I believe,  stems from the fact that
neither of the editors, Gates nor Appiah, is a historian. Gates is a rather
accomplished literary critic and Appiah is a professor of philosophy. Now I
am the first to say that one can overcome these deficiencies but one must
have worked at the craft of historical writing in order to achieve some
perspective. I do not see any historical imagination in this work and the
evidence of literary and philosophical interests override what should be a
strong historical underpinning. This project suffers because the editors
have little appreciation for either point-of-view or historiography and
have even less appreciation for proper periodization. Take the piece on
Costa Rica. There is a paragraph that describes the country in the same way
you would find in any encyclopedia. You would not even know African people
lived in Costa Rica if you read the account. You would not even know the
population of the country, not to mention how many Africans lived in Costa
Rica. Where is the discussion of the Limonenses?  Fortunately there is a
good essay on Quince Duncan written by Dellita Martin-Ogunsola that
explains much about Costa Rica, but you cannot get to Quince Duncan from
the entry on Costa Rica.

        When a project of this monumentality is produced there should be
ample checks on the nature of the writing. While it is true that the
Afrocentrists make a big ado about language liberation, it is for a reason.
You cannot use language that minimizes, penalizes, or degrades African
people or concepts. To that end, when Encarta speaks of African kingdoms
and calls them "great chiefdoms" this is not an aberration but rather it is
the default Eurocentric position that claims kingship for Europe and
chiefships for Africa and Native Americans. More critical, however, is the
way Encarta speaks of African Religions as developments "South of the
Sahara." There is no place in Africa that is not Africa. The Sahara itself
is Africa and numerous peoples and settlements exist in the Sahara. Indeed
one of the greatest legacies of the ancient world was the religion of the
Nile Valley, and the Nile flows through the desert.  One would have
expected that even if the editors did not appreciate the Afrocentric
theoretical perspective they would have examined it in detail to see where
they could have corrected their text. Clearly there were no "African
slaves" brought to the Americas and Caribbean; there were only African
people, farmers, blacksmiths, fishers, and members of royal families,
brought and then enslaved.

        The factual problem is little bit worrisome because the facts could
have been checked or double-checked even if some of the 40 members of the
advisory committee or 400 writers would have been asked to serve as
hands-on editors. Of course, the editors must know what they are looking
for and at what they are looking. There is no reason for someone writing on
Kwanzaa to speak of the US organization as "United Slaves," when it never
referred to itself that way and the nomenclature is probably  that of the
COINTELPRO. If I may be permitted, under the entry on "Afrocentrism" it is
claimed that I coined the word in l976. As far as I can tell I never used
the word "Afrocentrism," it remains a word used by those who seek to attack
Afrocentricity. My book, Afrocentricity, was published in l980.. While I am
on Afrocentricity, let me also say that the most significant intellectual
movement in the African world for the past twenty years has been the
Afrocentric movement and not to have a thorough and intelligent discussion
of it is a major flaw in this project. Robert Fay, the graduate student who
wrote the piece on "Afrocentrism" spent most of his time attacking
Professor Leonard Jeffries. This leads me to the political agenda. I did
not find a bibliography to indicate what was read by the writers before
they wrote their entries; Robert Fay surely suffered from the lack of

        The index itself is quite revealing. Amadu Bamba, the greatest
writer, in terms of quantity in the African world, is not included.
Furthermore, the leading contemporary African thinkers by objective
standards are Pan Africanists and Afrocentrists. They are no where to be
found in this project. Names such as Colin Palmer, Vincent Harding, Asa
Hilliard, Maulana Karenga, Kariamu Welsh Asante, Marimba Ani, Yosef
Ben-Jochannon, Cheikh Anta Diop, Herbert Vilakazi, Theophile Obenga,
Chinweizu, Wade Nobles, Na'im Akbar, Manning Marable, John Bracey, William
Strickland, and Ronald Walters do not appear in the index.If they appear
elsewhere, they are very difficult to find.   Even if you do not agree with
someone's perspective or orientation you must demonstrate as a scholar that
you are fair in your presentation of the historical information. The
Encarta project is woefully lacking in spectrum.  One could argue, although
weakly,  that this was a problem of space, that is, that some people were
bound to be missed. However, it is suspicious when the people who are
missed are Afrocentrists and when the medium has cyberspace capability.
This product is clearly an instruction for future producers of such works
on how not to proceed with an interactive encyclopedia on the African

        It is true that this is the first such interactive encyclopedia on
African culture and history, and that is why it should have given us more,
but we are fortunate that this is not the last. Much like Carter G.
Woodson's famed statement that it took him nearly forty years to get
Harvard out of his brain, we will be trying to get Encarta out of our
brains for several years. It is useful, perhaps,  that Encarta was done; it
is bad certainly that it was done badly.

Molefi Kete Asante is Professor, Department of African American Studies,
Temple University, Philadelphia. Asante is the most published contemporary
African American scholar with more than forty books and nearly 250

8. _Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship_

Published by H-LIS[at]  (June, 1999)

John Mark Tucker, ed. _Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries,
and Black Librarianship_.  Champaign, IL: Graduate School of
Library and Information Science, 1998.  210 pp.  Index. $27.00
(paper), ISBN 0-87845-104-8.

Reviewed for H-LIS by Lorna Peterson, School of Information and
Library Studies, SUNY at Buffalo

As a collection of fifteen articles representing research,
personal narrative and bibliography, _Untold Stories_ is a
significant contribution to the literature of the Black American
experience and librarianship.  The fifteen articles are divided
by three sections: "Legacies of Black Librarianship,"
"Chronicles from the Civil Rights Movement," and "Resources for
Library Personnel, Services and Collections."  Each has
excellent essays, containing high-quality research and writing.
This review concentrates on the most impressionable of these
essays--not meaning to rank the unselected as lesser, but rather
to amplify the range of discoveries _Untold Stories_ offers, in
the hope authors' voices will be heard, and the book will
receive the wide readership it deserves.

Marilyn Pettit's lead piece "Liberty & Literacy: Sunday Schools
& Reading for African- American Females in New York City,
1799-1826" bridges race, gender and class politics in an
exploration of Sunday schools as the common school for the most
marginalized of early nineteenth-century New York City
residents, Black girls.  In analytic and unsentimental language,
Pettit reconstructs the development and decline of this ignored
"matrix for the acquisition of literacy and for the use of
libraries and books, particularly for African-American females"
(p. 11).  Based on dissertation work, the research is thorough,
meticulous, and a model of scholarship.  Pettit consulted church
records, city council minutes, and letters, and framed this
evidence with a solid consultation of the secondary literature
on free Blacks, Sunday schools, and literacy, thereby turning
information into knowledge.  Pettit's conclusion is particularly
meaningful to librarians and one those in library education must
take to heart.  That is, as librarians we must take into custody
the records of neglected groups so their histories can be
written and library educators must educate professionals who
"are alive to the research potential of such records" (p. 20).

The gift of an historical narrative is that its story piques
certain curiosities, thereby leading to new discoveries.  Rosie
Albritton uncovers in "The Founding & Prevalence of African-
American Social Libraries & Historical Societies, 1828-1918"
that the accepted, or designated, expert chroniclers of North
American social libraries gave scant recognition to the
existence of African-American social libraries, nor of the early
work by Black historians who documented their existence.
Albritton presents the story told, but not heard, and through
her extensive bibliography reveals a lost history of the
nineteenth-century African-American literary societies and
social libraries.  She integrates literature on Black and White
social libraries with that of literary society history, to place
the African-American experience in the context of American
library history.  Her appendix continues the work of Dorothy
Porter and other Black library scholars giving a useful
foundation for further research.

The history of a single library helps us gain greater
understanding of the public library in a social context.  Andrea
L. Williams illustrates the effect of segregation and its
dismantling, in presenting the history of the Holland Public
Library, Wichita Falls, Texas, 1934-1968.  Under Jim Crow, the
library was a testament to Black self-determination.  Founded,
funded, managed, and cared for by Black leadership for Blacks,
the library held little interest by Whites.  In integration, the
library became of interest to Whites because of its status as a
city employer, thereby offering a good salary.  (p. 71).  Here
we see at least two outcomes of community interest in a library:
as a place for education and inspiration, and as an institution
which provides secure employment.  This reader was struck by
this because whether intentionally or unintentionally, the
question of the library as a marginal institution appears in
Williams's work.  For example, the closing of Holland Public
Library in 1968 stirred no controversy, although the closing of
Booker T. Washington High School resulted in much protest.
Williams concludes with this poignant quote regarding the public
library's demise:

  We saw it as inevitable and necessary for it to close; it was a
  remnant of a separate but unequal age, that no one ever pretended
  was o.k.  Keeping it open with all its inadequacies would be
  extending another remnant of a part of our history we were trying
  to dismantle (p. 75).

Yet this would be true of the school, and still its closing
generated community protest.  The library's role in society is
paradoxical in that citizens see its importance and dedicate
resources, no matter how scare, to its establishment.  But at
other times the library seems to have an inconsequential role.
Marginal or essential?  Which is the library in society and from
what viewpoint should it be studied?

The second section, "Chronicles from the Civil Rights Movement,"
explores the structural barriers of law and social custom
specifically related to librarianship.  Dan Lee in "From
Segregation to Integration:  Library Services for Blacks in
South Carolina, 1923-1962" skillfully uses correspondence from
the Carnegie Corporation, annual reports and minutes of the
South Carolina State Library Board, newspaper articles, census
statistics, charters, and other primary sources to demonstrate
resistence to library service to Blacks in South Carolina.  For
example, the Charleston Library Society turned down Carnegie
assistance in 1905 "out of fear that acceptance of such funding
would commit the staff to serving the general public, and
therefore blacks" (p. 94).  Lee also chronicles the attempt in
1921 to secure a Carnegie library for Blacks in Charleston which
was ultimately unsuccessful.  From 1928 to 1931, to meet the
library needs of Blacks in Charleston, African-American Susan
Dart Butler, the daughter of a minister, developed and ran a
library at her own expense until it was made a branch of the
county system (p. 95).  Thorough, meticulous research by Lee
shows how libraries were made separate and certainly were not
equal, and how Blacks challenged, sacrificed, and by
determination made sure the public library was a part of their

In "Reading for Liberation," Don Davis and Cheryl Knott Malone
reconstruct the role of libraries in the Mississippi Freedom
Summer Project of 1964.  The story of library planning, book
donation, maintenance and legacy is a fresh look at the role of
libraries in civil rights.  This article focuses on the writings
of James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality,
whose papers were acquired by the University of Texas.  In fact,
it was the acquisition of this collection and the discovery that
establishing libraries was part of the Freedom Summer, which
inspired the 1994 American Library Association, Library History
Round Table program and resulted in this book.  This is a moving
piece which presents the optimism of our profession, the faith
in books as instruments of liberation, and the desire of people
to have or withhold libraries in communities.  In some cases,
the Freedom libraries were all that a community had, in the end,
some fell prey to arson, others merged with newly integrated
libraries (p. 119).  How many libraries were there?  This is
difficult to determine and is one minor flaw of imprecision in
this work, where the authors refer to "15 or 20 [libraries] of
the more than 40 centers" (p. 111).

The final section, "Resources for Library Personnel, Services, &
Collections," pulls together issues involving biography,
bibliography and collection building.  Its concluding
bibliographic essay by Edward Goedeken is ambitious in its
attempt to bring together a forty-year literature of civil
rights, libraries and Black librarianship.  This reader was
curious as to the rationale of organization and the selection
process of including works, and therefore wished for an
introductory paragraph, specifying how the multi-disciplinary
approach was applied. Also, the pathfinder approach of starting
with general sources outside of library science somehow does not
seem appropriate for the readership of this volume.  And oddly,
the title demarcates at 1994 but a 1996 article by Glendora
Johnson-Cooper from a collection that also has a piece on
Dorothy Porter is included.[1] Without knowing the selection
criteria, for example, why was the fine biography of Nella
Larsen, published in 1994, omitted?[2] This bibliographic essay
though is a good start for the beginning researcher and the
suggestions for further research is a thoughtful contribution.

In reading a collection, too often one finds that the diversity
of voices contributes to an unevenness of tone and tenuous
relationship of content.  The skillful and careful editing of
_Untold Stories_ makes this the rare collection that does not
suffer from unevenness and is thus enjoyable to read.  But for
me, there was a subtle and troubling aspect of the book that is
marked by the epithet selected by the editor.  It reads:

  The civil rights movement did not grow out of the dream of any
  one man, or woman ... The people who made up the Movement were
  almost as diverse as America itself. [It] was carried out by a
  tiny percentage of all those who could have taken part. And yet
  this small group was able to generate a wave that washed over the
  entire nation, that spawned similar movements in a dozen fields.
  (Powledge, 1991, pp. xi, xii [p. 1])

The Black American demand for humane treatment, for the full
rights of citizenship, for liberty and justice is first, a Black
story.  Whites who fought Whites in the struggle for Black civil
rights should be acknowledged.  But there must be a way to do it
that does not make the sympathetic white person the hero, or
diminishes the courage of the oppressed by immediately
acknowledging diversity.  The use of white journalist Fred
Powledge's quote stripped the strength, determination and power
of Blacks who resisted and successfully fought White law and
social custom of segregation, thereby muting these powerful
stories.  To talk about race and the legacy of racism is an
unpleasant, hurtful task--so to sugarcoat it is tempting.  To
resist this temptation requires a will and responsibility
necessary to the scholarly integrity in studying race and

Unquestionably, _Untold Stories_ is a remarkable collection and
one that should enjoy a large and diverse readership.

[1]. G.J. Cooper, "African-American historical continuity:  Jean
Blackwell Hutson and the Schomberg Center for research in black
culture."  In S.  Hildenbrand, ed.  _Reclaiming the American
Library Past:  Writing the Women In_, pp. 27-51.  Norwood, N.J.:
Ablex, 1996.  See also in the same collection:  H.H. Britton,
"Dorothy Porter Wesley:  Bibliographer, Curator and Scholar,"
pp. 163-86.

[2]. Thadios M. Davis, _Nella Larsen, Novelsit of the Harlem
Renaissance:  A Woman's life Unveiled_.  Baton Rouge:  Louisiana
State University Press, 1994.

     Copyright (c) 1999 by H-Net, all rights reserved.  This work
     may be copied for non-profit educational use if proper credit
     is given to the author and the list.  For other permission,
     please contact H-Net[at]


9. Database of 4,000 images of African-American educational scenes

Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 11:24:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Susana Hinojosa <shinojos[at]>
To: equilibr[at]
Subject: New database of 4,000 African-American images (fwd) -Forwarded (fwd)

  I'm pleased to announce the availability of a new database of
African-American photographs.  The Jackson Davis Collection consists of
approximately 4,000 photographs of African-American educational scenes in
the southern United States, as well as several hundred scenes taken in
Liberia, Congo, and other African countries.  The U.S. photographs were
taken by Jackson Davis during the period ca. 1915-1930 when he was
affiliated with the General Education Board in New York, New York. Davis
served as a field agent, as the board's general field agent, as associate
director in 1933 and as vice-president and director in 1946.

  The digitization of these photographs is part of an IMLS
( grant to the Special Collections Department of
the University of Virginia Library.  The database as it exists now is very
much a work in progress.  For example, as you search you will find that
some images are missing and the descriptive data is very brief.  Grant
staff will complete the digitization of the photographs in the next few
weeks, and then will begin the process of researching the institutions
represented in the photographs, concentrating first on Virginia, then on
other states as time permits.  We are making the database available in its
less-than-perfect state because we think the contents are exciting and
useful to scholars who might lead us to previously unknown (to us) sources
of information about the institutions. At the end of the project, we hope
to have a comprehensive database about these important early educational

  Please direct questions or comments to Rebecca Yokum, project supervisor,
at rly5f[at]

Edward Gaynor
Associate Director, Special Collections
Alderman Library
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(804) 924-3138
(804) 924-3143 fax

10. US Postal Service Black History Stamps

        The U.S. Postal Service has featured approximately 100
        African Americans on stamps. At this site there is a page for
        each one that includes an image of the stamp and a one to
        two-page biography, with bibliography. Among the famous
        African Americans who are featured include Booker T.
        Washington, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. Allison
        Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., and Harriet Tubman. The site
        also includes a history of African Americans in the U.S.
        beginning with pre-colonial times to the present. There are
        links to stamp dealers, information on stamp collecting, and
        U.S. postage stamps. Another ThinkQuest site. - er
        Subjects: african americans - history | biography |
        stamp collecting

Carole Leita, cleita[at]
LIIWEEK Listowner and Coordinator of the
Librarians' Index to the Internet

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