Category Archives: ~ In the Library

“A room without a book is like a body without a soul.”
unknown

On this Day … Moby Dick Published


On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.

Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville’s sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville’s friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.

After Moby-Dick‘s disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn’t paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.

Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville’s final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.

history.com

on this day ~ Civil Rights Act of 1957 ~ In the Library Sept 9, 1957


In 1957, President Eisenhower sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation.

The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

The new act established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and empowered federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. It also established a federal Civil Rights Commission with authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures. The final act was weakened by Congress due to lack of support among the Democrats.

Cabinet Paper – The Civil Rights Program – Letter and Statement by the Attorney General, April 10, 1956 [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090725]

Press Release, Statement of the Attorney General on the Proposed Civil Rights Legislation Before The Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee, February 14, 1957 [22 pages][E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167080]

Fact Paper – The Administration and Civil Rights Legislation, March 27, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167051]

Memorandum, E. Frederic Morrow to Sherman Adams, July 12, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167063]

Letter, Val Washington (RNC) to DDE, July 18, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023121]

Press Release, Republican National Committee, August 7, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023122]

Letter, William P. Rogers to Joseph P. Martin, August 9, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090722]

Press Release by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, August 30, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167069]

Civil Rights Act of 1957 [Record Officer Reports to President on Pending Legislation, Box 111, Civil Rights HR 6127; NAID #12171136]

Report, Executive Branch Cooperation with the Commission on Civil Rights, February 27, 1959 (outlines the Commission’s authority, duties, responsibilities and actions) [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 10, Civil Rights Commission; NAID #12171139]

Pamphlet, The Commission on Civil Rights [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167074]

Photographs:

Images in the audiovisual collection

Additional Information:

Civil Rights Act of 1957 Subject Guide

resources ~ eisenhowerarchives.gov

In the Library ~~ Before Roe V Wade , by Linda Greenhouse&Reva Siegel


lindagreenhouse&revasiegel

Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling (2d edition, 2012)

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion–but the debate was far from over, continuing to be a political battleground to this day. Bringing to light key voices that illuminate the case and its historical context, Before Roe v. Wade looks back and recaptures how the arguments for and against abortion took shape as claims about the meaning of the Constitution—and about how the nation could best honor its commitment to dignity, liberty, equality, and life.

In this ground-breaking book, Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered the Supreme Court for 30 years for The New York Times, and Reva Siegel, a renowned professor at Yale Law School, collect documents illustrating cultural, political, and legal forces that helped shape the Supreme Court’s decision and the meanings it would come to have over time. A new afterword to the book explores what the history of conflict over abortion in the decade before Roe might reveal about the logic of conflict in the ensuing decades. The entanglement of the political parties in the abortion debate in the period before the Court ruled raises the possibility that Roe itself may not have engendered political polarization around abortion as is commonly supposed, but instead may have been engulfed by it.

in the Library ~ The New Jim Crow – by michelle alexander… Best Seller


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, 10th Anniversary Edition

so, i read this review of a book that took me back to information given to us in class at the UW  …stunning, sad and eye opening information yet this book review revealed much more …

By Leonard Pitts Jr. / Syndicated columnist

Michelle Alexander’s ‘The New Jim Crow,’ a troubling and necessary book

Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. suggests reading “The New Jim Crow,” by Michelle Alexander, who contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system.

Syndicated columnist

Related

“You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to.”

— Richard Nixon as quoted by H.R. Haldeman, supporting a get-tough-on drugs strategy

“They give black people time like it’s lunch down there. You go down there looking for justice, that’s what you find: just us.”— Richard Pryor

Michelle Alexander was an ACLU attorney in Oakland, preparing a racial-profiling lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol. The ACLU had put out a request for anyone who had been profiled to get in touch. One day, in walked this black man.

He was maybe 19 and toted a thick sheaf of papers, what Alexander calls an “incredibly detailed” accounting of at least a dozen police stops over a nine-month period, with dates, places and officers’ names. This was, she thought, a “dream plaintiff.”

But it turned out he had a record, a drug felony — and she told him she couldn’t use him; the state’s attorney would eat him alive. He insisted he was innocent, said police had planted drugs and beaten him. But she was no longer listening. Finally, enraged, he snatched the papers back and started shredding them.

“You’re no better than the police,” he cried. “You’re doing what they did to me!” The conviction meant he couldn’t work or go to school, had to live with his grandmother. Did Alexander know how that felt? And she wanted a dream plaintiff? “Just go to my neighborhood,” he said. “See if you can find one black man my age they haven’t gotten to already.”

She saw him again a couple of months later. He gave her a potted plant from his grandmother’s porch — he couldn’t afford flowers — and apologized. A few months after that, a scandal broke: Oakland police officers accused of planting drugs and beating up innocent victims. One of the officers involved was the one named by that young man.

“It was,” says Alexander now, more than 10 years later, “the beginning of me asking some hard questions of myself as a civil-rights lawyer. … What is actually going on in his neighborhood? How is it that they’ve already gotten to all the young African-American men in his neighborhood? I began questioning my own assumptions about how the criminal-justice system works.”

The result is a compelling new book. Others have written of the racial bias of the criminal-injustice system. In “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander goes a provocative step further. She contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system. A new segregation.

She has a point. Yes, the War on Drugs is officially race-neutral. So were the grandfather clause and other Jim Crow laws whose intention and effect was nevertheless to restrict black freedom.

The War on Drugs is a war on African-American people and we countenance it because we implicitly accept certain assumptions sold to us by news and entertainment media, chief among them that drug use is rampant in the black community. But. The. Assumption. Is. WRONG.

According to federal figures, blacks and whites use drugs at a roughly equal rate in percentage terms. In terms of raw numbers, whites are far and away the biggest users — and dealers — of illegal drugs.

So why aren’t cops kicking their doors in? Why aren’t their sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times likelier to be jailed for drugs than white ones? Why aren’t white communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?

With inexorable logic, “The New Jim Crow” propounds an answer many will resist and most have not even considered. It is a troubling and profoundly necessary book.

Please read it.

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.’s column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is: lpitts@miamiherald.com