Category Archives: ~ In the Library

“A room without a book is like a body without a soul.”
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In the Library ~ Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson ~


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Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring“, an early voice for our environment in 1962 

Silent Spring

 See why Carson’s analysis is more relevant now than ever.Buy Silent Spring at Amazon.com     

Rachel Carson, writer, scientist, and ecologist, grew up simply in the rural river town of Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her mother bequeathed to her a life-long love of nature and the living world that Rachel expressed first as a writer and later as a student of marine biology. Carson graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929, studied at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.

She was hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries to write radio scripts during the Depression and supplemented her income writing feature articles on natural history for the Baltimore Sun. She began a fifteen-year career in the federal service as a scientist and editor in 1936 and rose to become Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

She wrote pamphlets on conservation and natural resources and edited scientific articles, but in her free time turned her government research into lyric prose, first as an article “Undersea” (1937, for the Atlantic Monthly), and then in a book, Under the Sea-wind (1941). In 1952 she published her prize-winning study of the ocean, The Sea Around Us, which was followed by The Edge of the Sea in 1955. These books constituted a biography of the ocean and made Carson famous as a naturalist and science writer for the public. Carson resigned from government service in 1952 to devote herself to her writing.

She wrote several other articles designed to teach people about the wonder and beauty of the living world, including “Help Your Child to Wonder,” (1956) and “Our Ever-Changing Shore” (1957), and planned another book on the ecology of life. Embedded within all of Carson’s writing was the view that human beings were but one part of nature distinguished primarily by their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly.

Disturbed by the profligate use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II, Carson reluctantly changed her focus in order to warn the public about the long term effects of misusing pesticides. In Silent Spring (1962) she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.

Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment. Rachel Carson died in 1964 after a long battle against breast cancer. Her witness for the beauty and integrity of life continues to inspire new generations to protect the living world and all its creatures.

Amelia Boynton Robinson …Black History


On March 7, 1965, Amelia Boynton was beaten, knocked unconscious and left to die on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in what has become known as “Bloody Sunday.” At 103, she is still a champion for freedom, justice and equality.

Born on August 18, 1911, one of ten children of George and Anna Hicks Platts in Savannah, Georgia, young Amelia, at age 10, began her life-long quest for voting rights as a vehicle to equality.  She assisted her mother in going door-to-door by horse and buggy in 1921 to encourage Blacks to vote.

After graduating from Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in 1927, she began a career with the United States Department of Agriculture in 1929. Later, she became reacquainted with fellow Tuskegee graduate, S.W. Boynton, whom she subsequently married. Together, they began helping to lay the groundwork in the 1930’s for the now famous Selma-to-Montgomery March, of which “Bloody Sunday” was a part, and which ultimately led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A part of Amelia’s role in the movement is immortalized in the recent Oscar-nominated movie “Selma,” where she is portrayed by Lorraine Toussaint.

Because of the pivotal work that she performed in securing the right to vote for Blacks in the United States, our nominee, a resident of Tuskegee, Alabama since 1976, is known as the “Matriarch of the Voting Rights Movement.”  Please sign this petition and join our Committee in nominating Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson, and in urging President Barack Obama to name her as a recipient for a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Thank you for your support.

National Nominating Committee

Post Office Box 941

Tuskegee Institute, Alabama 36087

Dr. Elaine C. Harrington, Chair

Atty. Lateefah Muhammad, Co-Chair

In the Library … Dr Suess


Happy Birthday ! repost

dr.suessin 1904, Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator of such beloved children’s books as “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel, who used his middle name (which was also his mother’s maiden name) as his pen name, wrote 48 books–including some for adults–that have sold well over 200 million copies and been translated into multiple languages. Dr. Seuss books are known for their whimsical rhymes and quirky characters, which have names like the Lorax and the Sneetches and live in places like Hooterville.

Geisel, who was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was editor of the school’s humor magazine, and studied at Oxford University. There he met Helen Palmer, his first wife and the person who encouraged him to become a professional illustrator. Back in America, Geisel worked as a cartoonist for a variety of magazines and in advertising.

The first children’s book that Geisel wrote and illustrated, “And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” was rejected by over two dozen publishers before making it into print in 1937. Geisel’s first bestseller, “The Cat in the Hat,” was published in 1957. The story of a mischievous cat in a tall striped hat came about after his publisher asked him to produce a book using 220 new-reader vocabulary words that could serve as an entertaining alternative to the school reading primers children found boring.

Other Dr. Seuss classics include “Yertle the Turtle,” “If I Ran the Circus,” “Fox in Socks” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”

Some Dr. Seuss books tackled serious themes. “The Butter Battle Book” (1984) was about the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “Lorax” (1971) dealt with the environment.

Many Dr. Seuss books have been adapted for television and film, including “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Horton Hears a Who!” In 1990, Geisel published a book for adults titled “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” that became a hugely popular graduation gift for high school and college students.

Geisel, who lived and worked in an old observatory in La Jolla, California, known as “The Tower,” died September 24, 1991, at age 87.

In the library: The Emperor’s New Clothes: a Hans Christian Andersen’s tale – in this era of trump


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Two weavers are approached by a vain, pompous Emperor who desires the finest and most luxurious clothes in all the land for himself – clothes which are befitting of his supreme status. The two weavers promise him just such a set of clothes, so fine and wonderful that they will only be for the eyes of the great and good in society; indeed, they will be quite invisible to anyone who is stupid, incompetent or unworthy of their position in society. What’s more, the clothes will be made of a material so fine (‘as light as a spider web‘) that they will not weigh down the wearer, so fine, the wearer will not even be aware of them draped over his body. Such a set of clothes would be perfect for a great Emperor. They would suit his sense of his own importance, and their magical properties of invisibility to the unworthy, would enable him to find out which of his ministers were unfit for their jobs (‘and I could tell the wise men from the fools‘).

Of course, the weavers are nothing more than a pair of con-men – swindlers who have no intention of creating a fine set of clothes. They have heard of the Emperor’s vanity and they believe they can turn his failings to their own advantage. So they decide to go to the pretence of making this set of fine clothes. Of course when the Emperor goes to visit the weavers at their work and they make a show of enthusing over the cloth and the clothes they are making, he cannot see anything at all. But he is too proud to admit that he cannot see the clothes. To do so, would be to label himself as stupid and unfit to be Emperor. And of course when his courtiers and ministers visit the weavers, they also cannot see these clothes, but they also pretend that they can – because if they say anything different, they will be admitting their own incompetence and unworthiness. (Can it be that I’m a fool? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the cloth). What’s more, if any of them did have their suspicions about the existence of the clothes, well to voice their doubts would be to imply that the Emperor himself was stupid enough and gullible enough to be taken in by this foolery.

When the Emperor finally walks out among his subjects in his non-existent finery, the crowds watch eagerly. They all want to see which of their friends or neighbours are so stupid that they cannot see the clothes. What actually happens of course, is that none of them see any clothes. But no one says anything. Perhaps some are embarressed to tell the truth because they think that they themselves must be too stupid to see the cloth. Perhaps others believe that to say anything derogatory would be to draw attention to the truth of the Emperor’s own stupidity. Perhaps others simply do not wish to be the first to speak out with a contrary voice. Only one small child who is far too innocent of all this pretension and social convention shouts out But he hasn’t got anything on!’ At first the little boy’s father tries to correct the boy, but gradually the news breaks out and so everyone finally realises they are not alone in their inability to see the clothes. And now everybody begins to find the strength in numbers to admit there is nothing to see, and they begin to laugh.

The Emperor cringes, but continues with the procession, because to turn back now would be to admit his own gullibility.  Better by far to carry on in the pretence that he is the only one who has the wisdom to see the clothes. His courtiers likewise feel they have to continue to live the lie, and dutifully follow their leader.

An original drawing of the Emperor's parade by Vilhelm Pedersen, the first illustrator of Hans Christian Andersen's tale
An original drawing of the Emperor’s parade by Vilhelm Pedersen, the first illustrator of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale | Source
in this era of trump … #staywoke – Nativegrl77
why are there so many fools for #teamtrump … the moral of this story … is obvious trumpies

Social Activist ~~ Grace Lee Boggs – in the Library


Grace Lee Boggs

Documentary in June

When Korean American filmmaker Grace Lee was growing up in Missouri, she was the only Grace Lee she knew. Once she left the Midwest however, everyone she met seemed to know “another Grace Lee.” But why did they assume that all Grace Lees were reserved, dutiful, piano-playing overachievers? The filmmaker plunges into a funny, highly unscientific investigation into all those Grace Lees who break the mold — from a fiery social activist to a rebel who tried to burn down her high school. With wit and charm, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT puts a hilarious spin on the eternal question, “What’s in a name?”

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Grace Lee Boggs

Music artist

Grace Lee Boggs is an author, lifelong social activist and feminist.

She is known for her years of political collaboration with C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in the 1940s and 1950s.wikipedia.org

Black History Month