History

Following ratification by the state of Virginia, The Bill of Rights became law on December 15, 1791. Comprised of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, they were written by James Madison in response to requests from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties. The First Amendment 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."

Learn about the long history of dissent in America by checking out some of the following resources available in the Library's collection.

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. 

Killer instinct : a novel by Joseph Finder
Also available in: audiobook | large print

Jason Steadman is a thirty-year-old sales executive living in Boston and working for a electronics giant, a competitor to Sony and Panasonic. He's a witty, charismatic guy who's well liked at the office, but he lacks the "killer instinct" necessary to move up the corporate ladder. To the chagrin of his ambitious wife, it looks as if his career has hit a ceiling. Jason's been sidelined.But all that will change one evening when Jason meets Kurt Semko, a former Special Forces officer just back from Iraq. Looking for a decent pitcher for the company softball team, Jason gets Kurt, who was once drafted by the majors, a job in Corporate Security. Soon, good things start to happen for Jason - and bad things start to happen to Jason's rivals. His career suddenly takes off. He's an overnight successOnly too late does Jason discover that his friend Kurt has been secretly paving his path to the top by the most "efficient" - and ruthless - means available. After all, Kurt says, "Business is war, right?"But when Jason tries to put a stop to it, he finds that his new best friend has become the most dangerous enemy imaginable. And now it's far more than just his career that lies in the balance.A riveting tale of ambition, intrigue, and the price of success, Killer Instinct is Joseph Finder at his best.

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.

"Describes the life and contributions of Crispus Attucks during the American Revolution"--.

The month of February is Black History Month in the United States. Check out a biography about a famous black artists, dancers, musicians, or writers and discover how their works have shaped our lives.

Ira's Shakespeare dream by Glenda Armand

"A biography chronicling the life of Ira Aldridge, an African American actor who is considered to be one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of the nineteenth century"--.

Recounts how the young Jacob Lawrence, as a boy recently arrived in Harlem, reacted to the world around him and translated his responses into art at an after-school arts center.

Traces the life and achievements of the late-nineteenth-century African American poet, from his poverty-stricken childhood and his immense fame to his tragic death and enduring cultural legacy.

Expand your mind.  What's it like to go to war?  Why do Americans move so frequently?  A brilliant neurosurgeon learns he has inoperable cancer, read how he decides to meet this challenge.  Women 'rocket sciences'? Yes!

The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered : Aren't we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does the place we live become the place we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family's perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it-- no matter what. How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover.

"From master storyteller and historian H.W. Brands, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, comes the riveting story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur squared off to decide America's future in the aftermath of World War II. At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world. When asked by a reporter about the possible use of atomic weapons in response to China's entry into the war, Truman replied testily, 'The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons, as he always has.' This suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way. Truman was one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Heir to a struggling economy, a ruined Europe, and increasing tension with the Soviet Union, on no issue was the path ahead clear and easy. General MacArthur, by contrast, was incredibly popular, as untouchable as any officer has ever been in America. The lessons he drew from World War II were absolute: appeasement leads to disaster and a showdown with the communists was inevitable--the sooner the better. In the nuclear era, when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon. The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalin's blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur's forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era"--.

In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women -- known as human computers -- who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American ballistic missiles. But they were never interested in developing weapons, their hearts lay in the dream of space exploration. So when the JPL became part of a new agency called NASA, the women worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars, and beyond. Later, as digital computers largely replaced human ones, JPL was unique in training and retaining its brilliant pool of women. They became the first computer programmers and engineers, and through their efforts, we launched the ships that showed us the contours of our solar system. Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women who broke the boundaries of both gender and science.

20 Great Reads for Black History Month

February 1, 1960. In Greensboro, North Carolina, four African American students sat down and ordered coffee at a lunch counter inside a Woolworth's store. After being refused service they did not leave, but instead, remained sitting at the counter all day. This nonviolent "sit-in" was repeated in other southern states over the next few days, resulting in the eventual arrest of over 1,600 persons.and  leading  to the Woolworth department store chain removing its policy of racial segregation in the South.

February 1, 2003. Shortly  before it was scheduled to land, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart in flight over west Texas, killing all seven crew members. This was the second space shuttle lost in flight. In January 1986, Challenger exploded during liftoff

February 2, 1848. The war between Mexico and the United States ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In exchange for $15 million, the U.S. acquired the land comprising parts or all of present day California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas.

February 3, 1870. The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. This amendment guaranteed the right of citizens to vote, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston takes readers on an adventure deep into the Honduran jungle in this riveting, danger-filled true story about the discovery of an ancient lost civilization.

The Storytellers Present: Build a Better World

Come celebrate African American History month with us by welcoming back The Storytellers. A favorite of the Canton Public Library, The Storytellers combine interactive stories, beautiful music, humor, and hands-on fun with wonderful musical instruments from around the globe.

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