History

Black History Month

We owe the celebration of Black History Month to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the son of slaves who went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. He launched Negro History Week in 1926 in order to bring national attention to the contributions of blacks throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for this recognition because it marks the birthdays of two men whose lives greatly influenced the black American population — Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The celebration evolved into Black History Month in 1976.

Canton Seniors Book Discussion: March 28, 2012

Canton Seniors Book Discussion group will meet on Wednesday, March 28 from 2:00-3:00 PM in Canton Public Library's Group Study Room A. We are reading:

The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot — Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells-taken without her knowledge-became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years.

Happy 175th Anniversary Michigan

Guess what? Our beloved mitten state is celebrating a major milestone Thursday — 175 years of Statehood! Time does fly, doesn't it? We've seen both good and bad events in our historical journey through time, plus we have given birth to numerous famous people. On this date in 1837, President Jackson signed the bill that officially made us the 26th state in the union. There are lots of ways you can celebrate this momentous occasion including baking a cake shaped like Michigan, take pictures of your neighborhood, write what you love about our great state, or check out some of our wonderful materials on Michigan.

If You Like Downton Abbey

Set in an Edwardian country house in 1912, the popular PBS series Downton Abbey centers on the Crawley family, their servants and their life at their grand country home. However, the death of the Crawley heir aboard the Titanic, sets in motion a succession of changes for both the family and the servants. The second season — which began on PBS on January 8 — has moved forward to the years 1916-17 and portrays the effect that World War I has on all of their lives. This Emmy Award winning series is written by Julian Fellowes and stars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, and Elizabeth McGovern. If you enjoy this period of history try some of the following titles.

Books

The American heiress: a novel by Daisy Goodwin — Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England.

Time was, Time is… January 2012

North Korea's Kim Jong Il

The death of North Korea's controversial leader, Kim Jong Il, was announced earlier this week by DRPK state television. Although North Korean legend claimed that Kim was born on Mount Paekdu — a cherished Korean site — Soviet records indicate that he was born in Siberia in 1941. His father Kim Il Sung was a guerilla fighter who became a communist leader in Korea in 1945 after the defeat of Japan in World War II. After the Korean peninsula was divided into two states — the North, administered by the Soviets — and the South by the United States, the stage was set for the beginning of the Korean War. After the North invaded the South in 1950, three years of bloodshed ensued, killing millions and leaving the peninsula permanently divided to this day. Kim Jong Il became the country's "Dear Leader" in 1994 upon the death of his father. Kim Jong Il was widely criticized throughout the world for devoting much of his country's resources on building up its nuclear arms arsenal, while at the same time his countrymen were suffering from a prolonged famine. His youngest son, Kim Jong Un, has been designated as his successor.

Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel, the longtime dissident who later became the leader of the Czech Republic passed away December 18 at the age of 75. Havel was better known as a poet and playwright when he led his nation through the bloodless Velvet Revolution in 1989 that toppled the decades long Soviet regime in Czechoslovakia. Havel later went on to serve as president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. After the federation peacefully split into two states he served as president of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. The other state became Slovakia. Among those expected to be at his Friday funeral are Bill Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the presidents of Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Let's Explore!

Into the unknown: how great explorers found their way by land, sea, and air by Stewart Ross — Brave explorers have vivid stories to tell and they range from sailing on the oceans to landing on the moon. This book takes a fascinating look at the adventures of many great explorers. Fresh storytelling and unfolding cutaways and cross sections keep the reader engaged.

Time was, Time is… December 2011

Great Michigan Read 2011-2012

If you have read Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, the 2011-2012 Great Michigan Read try David Halberstram or Branch Taylor or one of the many documentaries about Civil Rights in America produced over the years.

Faith in the city: preaching radical social change in Detroit by Angela D. Dillard; with a foreword by Charles G. Adams

Race and remembrance: a memoir by Arthur L. Johnson

Sweet land of liberty: the forgotten struggle for civil rights in the North by Thomas J. Sugrue

The children by David Halberstam

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