Monday, 26 October 2015

Black History Month October 2015 - Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a leading abolitionist, civil rights activist and humanitarian. Born to enslaved parents in Maryland, Harriet is famed for leading other enslaved people to freedom using the Underground Railroad in the American South to the ‘free’ North.  She was nick-named “The Conductor” and "Black Moses" as Harriet returned to the South several times to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom.  

The year of Harriet’s birth is unknown but is recognised as being between 1820 and 1825.  Her birth name was Araminta or "Minty” but it is believed she preferred Harriet in honour of her mother Harriet “Rit” Green. She was one of 9 children and married twice in her lifetime.

Beatings and lashings were a lamentable inevitability of bondage and Harriet's experience was no different. She carried the scars of physical violence for the rest of her life, suffering with narcolepsy and seizures after a particularly gruesome beating where the overseer threw a weight at her head. 

In 1849 Harriet and her two brothers escaped slavery after the death of their owner. They planned to escape to Philadelphia but a bounty was placed on each of them for their return dead or alive, and Harriet's brothers defected. She accompanied them back to the plantation but in an effort to remain "free" continued to journey alone through Pennsylvania and on to Philadelphia. This was approximately 90 miles. Wishing to free her family and other slaves, Harriet returned several times to the South to coordinate escapes to Philadelphia. However in 1850 a Fugitive Slave Law was passed that required the "free" North to return escaped slaves to their owners in the South.  In response to this, Harriet redirected her escape routes to Canada where slavery was illegal.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Reading for Pleasure Part 2

He Said, She Said (cover)
More Reading for Pleasure books

The Reading for pleasure collection is rapidly expanding (see below). We now have books on relationships, sports, politics, hooligans and much more. Most of the books have been published in the last few years. Do please take out any book that catches your eye.

November will be reading for pleasure month. If you have read and enjoyed any of the books on the list do think about writing a review which we will post on the blog. All reviews and comments will be appreciated.

Reviews can be emailed to me at this address;

The sisterhood of the travelling pants, Ann Brashares

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn

This lullaby: a novel, Sarah Dessen

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set- Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set - Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set - The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins  

The perks of being a wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel

He Said, She Said, Kwame Alexander

Eat prey love, Kerrelyn Sparks

How to be a woman, Caitlin Moran

May I have your attention, please?,  James Corden

Between the Lines: My Autobiography, Victoria Pendleton

Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

Girl in a band, Kim Gordon

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

Not that kind of girl, Lena Dunham

Hunting the hooligans, Michael Layton with Robert Endeacott

Revolution, Russell Brand

Monday, 19 October 2015

Black History Month October 2015 - Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges is a fantastic example of resilience, strength and tenacity. Her story is inspirational to Black people worldwide.

Born Ruby Nell Bridges on September 8th 1954 to parents Abon and Lucille Bridges, Ruby is famous for being the first Black child to attend an all-white elementary school.

Her early years were spent on a farm in Mississippi where her parents and grandparents sharecropped the land, however motivated by the desire for a better life for their children, the Bridges family moved to New Orleans.  Segregation was still heavily entrenched in southern America but in a radical step towards civil rights for Black people, a ruling by the United States Supreme Court in 1954 ordered the desegregation of public schools.  However, it is important to recognise there was no timeline specified for the implementation of these changes.

In 1960 Ruby's parents were approached by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) to sit a test that would determine her ability to attend and study at an all-white school. Out of numerous African-American children, Ruby was one of six to pass this test and it was decided she would become a student at William Frantz Elementary. Conscious of the public backlash, US marshals were assigned to escort Ruby to and from school. The ramifications were unimaginable! Mobs of angry, outraged parents and townspeople heckled, and spat at Ruby. They threatened to poison and kill her. Ostracised for her colour at just 6 years old!  Parents refused to send their children to school in protest and teachers refused to teach.  Only one new teacher, Mrs Barbara Henry from Boston supported Ruby, who was her only student for the entire year!  She was sensitive to Ruby's emotional and educational needs. In order to keep Ruby safe, she was not allowed to eat lunch with the other children nor enjoy playtime with them. The effects rippled beyond school. Ruby's father lost his job, the family were not allowed to visit shops local to their home and their neighbours were terrorised. Yet in the face of this adversity, Ruby and her family continued, with what was to become, one of the most notorious steps towards civil liberty for Black people.  The strength they displayed drawn from a tight family unit and firm Christian beliefs!
Ruby continued her education into her adult years and went on to study Travel and Tourism at the Kansas City Business School.  In 1999, Ruby established the 'Ruby Bridges Foundation' which seeks to disseminate prejudice through education. The motto for the foundation is "We believe racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it." Still a zealous and influential activist today, Ruby's work for equal rights remains both influential and inspirational!  Her book 'Through My Eyes' continues to engage readers of every background worldwide and is a staple in relating dark elements in Black history.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Black History Month October 2015: Audre Lorde


Self-described "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet" Audre Lorde challenged Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.the persecution of marginalised groups in her poetry and activist work.  Born in New York to West-Indian immigrant parents, Lorde encouraged the coalition of oppressed groups, and spoke fervently on the struggle for emancipation amongst persecuted people. She advocated the concept of “intersectionality,” challenging her readers to respond to their own experiences of prejudice. 
Lorde was noted for her work in the documentary film entitled “Audrey Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992.”  At a time of political and social change in Germany, Lorde encouraged the voice of Afro-German women, inspiring them to share their history and experiences, challenge the German view on marginalised groups in society, and create a dialogue between black and white German women.
Lorde’s international recognition afforded her many prestigious honours and awards but alongside critical acclaim, she was chastised by those who thought her ideas radical and extreme.  Facing difficulty, Lorde remained resolute, refusing to be intimidated.  Tragically, Lorde was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in 1992 at age 58.  However, her ideals and influence very heavily remain today.

Her works include:

·         A Burst Of Light
·         The Black Unicorn
·         Between Ourselves
·         Cables To Rage
·         The Cancer Journals
·         The First Cities
·         From A Land Where Other People Live
·         I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities
·         Lesbian Party: An Anthology
·         Need: A Chorale For Black Women Voices
·         The New York Head Shop And Museum
·         Our Dead Behind Us: Poems
·         Sister Outsider: Essays And Speeches
·         The Marvelous Arithmetics Of Distance: Poems
·         Undersong: Chosen Poems Old And New
·         Uses Of The Erotic: The Erotic As Power
·         Woman Poet—The East
·         Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

Black History Month October 2015: Learning Resources displays (2)

More views of the display

Black History Month October 2015: Learning Resources displays

There are displays of Learning Resources materials to celebrate Black History Month at Bedford Campus Library and Luton LRC

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Black History Month 2015: Yearning

Yearning: race, gender and cultural politics bell hooks; 25 September 1952
Real name Gloria Jean Watkins, the pen name bell hooks derived from her maternal grandmother. The de-capitalisation of her pen name is duel-functioning as it distinguishes her from her grandmother, and it proposes the writing is more important than her name.
bell is an American feminist, social activist, author and was a Professor at Yale University. In her writings she confronts the binary definitions of what is it to be a black woman and the issues surrounding social class. In her writings she proposes arguments, debates and solutions and by large this acts as a way to liberate individuals from these definitions. She is a prolific writer who draws influences from Toni Morrison, American absolutionist Sojourner Truth, American playwright Lorraine Hansberry and American Civil Rights radical Malcolm X and American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. During her childhood in Kentucky, hooks experienced racial segregation and sexism which are explored throughout her earlier writings. As she has grown older hooks has embraced Buddhism which now influences her writings and methodologies

Black History Month October 2015

Since 1987 Black History Month has been celebrated every October in the United Kingdom.   The event is formally recognised by the Government and highlights the contributions Africa and African peoples make to the economic, social and political landscape of London and the wider UK.
Black History Month is a time for us to discover and explore our histories, to examine and reflect on what life is like now, and to build hopes and dreams for a brighter future.
Black History Month is an opportunity for an  innovative look at Black British cultural identities, heritage and creative voices.
Some of the literature and histories which celebrate black history feature in the article linked below:

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Reading for Pleasure

Introducing the Reading For Pleasure and Well-being collection

The reading for pleasure and well-being collection is a range of books which are not necessarily connected to any course and have been chosen to appeal to a wide range of students purely for the  pleasure of reading. Whether you are interested in music, fashion, alcohol, sport, politics, food, psychology or romance it is highly likely that there will be something there to appeal to you. You can browse the titles in the collection below, and take them out from Luton or Polhill library. More titles will be added on a weekly basis.

The sisterhood of the travelling pants, Ann Brashares

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn

Good Fortune, Noni Carter

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set- Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set - Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set - The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

The perks of being a wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

He Said, She Said, Kwame Alexander

Dear Fatty, Dawn French

The Island, Victoria Hislop

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman