History

Did you know that the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote, wasn't passed until 1920? Read about the journey to women's suffrage in one of the following titles. 

Chronicles the history of women's suffrage, highlighting the contributions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and such other reformers as Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

On December 15, 1791 the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was ratified by Virginia, thus meeting the requirement of being ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures. The freedom of the press is essential to democracy.  In the words of President Barack Obama: "Journalists give all of us as citizens the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. That makes us better, it makes us stronger, it gives voice to the voiceless,  it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable."

Learn more about this essential American right and it's importance in America's history from some the following resources in the Library's collection.

20 More Great Reads for Black History Month

Death of a king: the real story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s final year by Tavis Smiley with David Ritz

 

 

 

 

 

Children of fire: a history of African Americans by Thomas C. Holt

 

 

 

 

Say it loud: great speeches on civil rights and African American identity by edited by Catherine Ellis and Stephen Drury Smith

 

Stokely: a life by Peniel E. Joseph

 

 

 

 

Across that bridge: life lessons and a vision for change by John Lewis ; with Brenda Jones

 

 

 

 

Washington's "Farewell"  was published at the end of his second term and was reprinted in newspapers across the country. The President began the letter during his first term intending to retire but was persuaded by Hamilton and Jefferson to run for a second. By the end of that term he was the object of scurrilous press attacks and alarmed by the growing partisan bitterness. Fearful for the country's future, Washington pled with his countrymen to resist hyper-partisanship and foreign alliances.

My life, my love, my legacy by Coretta Scott King

Two extraordinary women-Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X-come to life in this film. After their husbands' tragic assassinations, they developed a unique friendship spanning three decades as they carried on the Civil Rights movement while supporting their families as single mothers. Through their strength and dignity, they became role models for millions of women.

In World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into relocation camps across the US. This film traces the lives of the 16,000 people who were sent to two camps in southeast Arkansas, one of the poorest and most racially segregated places in America. It explores the reactions of the native Arkansans who watched in bewilderment as their tiny towns were overwhelmed by this huge influx of outsiders. Through interviews with the internees and local citizens, the program explores how it affected the local communities, and the impact this history had on the issues of civil rights and social justice in America then and now.

Peter O'Toole was supremely talented, a unique leading man and one of the most charismatic actors of his generation. Described by his friend Richard Burton as "the most original actor to come out of Britain since the war," O'Toole was also unpredictable, with a dangerous edge he brought to his roles and to his real life. With the help of exclusive interviews with colleagues and close friends, Robert Sellers' Peter O'Toole: The Definitive Biography paints the first complete picture of this complex and much-loved man. The book reveals what drove him to extremes, why he drank to excess for many years and hated authority, but it also describes a man who was fiercely intelligent, with a great sense of humor and huge energy. Giving full weight to his extraordinary career, this is an insightful, funny, and moving tribute to an iconic actor who made a monumental contribution to theater and cinema.
 

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Richard A. Serrano's new book American Endurance: The Great Cowboy Race and the Vanishing Wild West is history, mystery, and Western all rolled into one. In June 1893, nine cowboys raced across a thousand miles of American prairie to the Chicago World's Fair. For two weeks they thundered past angry sheriffs, governors, and Humane Society inspectors intent on halting their race. Waiting for them at the finish line was Buffalo Bill Cody, who had set up his Wild West Show right next to the World's Fair that had refused to allow his exhibition at the fair. The Great Cowboy Race occurred at a pivotal moment in our nation's history: many believed the frontier was settled and the West was no more. The Chicago World's Fair represented the triumph of modernity and the end of the cowboy age. Except no one told the cowboys. Racing toward Buffalo Bill Cody and the gold-plated Colt revolver he promised to the first to reach his arena, nine men went on a Wild West stampede from tiny Chadron, Nebraska, to bustling Chicago. But at the first thud of hooves pounding on Chicago's brick pavement, the race devolved into chaos. Some of the cowboys shipped their horses part of the way by rail, or hired private buggies. One had the unfair advantage of having helped plan the route map in the first place. It took three days, numerous allegations, and a good old Western showdown to sort out who was first to Chicago, and who won the Great Cowboy Race.
 

No single sea battle has had more far-reaching consequences than the one fought in the harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in March 1862. The Confederacy, with no fleet of its own, built an iron fort containing ten heavy guns on the hull of a captured Union frigate named the Merrimack. The North got word of the project when it was already well along, and, in desperation, commissioned an eccentric inventor named John Ericsson to build the Monitor, an entirely revolutionary iron warship—at the time, the single most complicated machine ever made. Abraham Lincoln himself was closely involved with the ship’s design. 

The month of February is Black History Month in the United States. Check out a biography about a black historical figure or civil rights hero to learn more about their lives.

Biographical sketches chronicle the contributions of enslaved and free blacks during the Revolutionary War, including Prince Hall, who organized the first branch of black Freemasons, and Richard Allen, who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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