Black History Month is being celebrated this month at the Ohio County Public Library. A variety of programs for adults and children are being offered to honor the contributions that African Americans have made and to recognize their sacrifices. Additionally, the Civic Empathy Through History Project continues through the month celebrating "Wheeling's 20th Man" speech made by Harry H. Jones and other significant black history from Wheeling, WV. The Ohio County Public Library programming, archives, and collection to continues to promote the study of Black history all year.
Story Time & Toddler Time: African American Author/Illustrator Spotlight - Each week we will focus on an African American author or illustrator.
Week of Feb 1-Nikki Grimes - New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2022 Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the 2017 Children's Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey's Choice, ALA Notable book Southwest Sunrise, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and five Coretta Scott King Author Honor books, Printz and Siebert Honor winner Ordinary Hazards, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor One Last Word, its companion Legacy:Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and NYT Bestseller Kamala Harris:Rooted in Justice. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, and Off to See the Sea, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.
Week of February 6- Brian Pinkney - Acclaimed artist Brian Pinkney is the illustrator of several highly-praised picture books including The Faithful Friend, In the Time of the Drums, and Duke Ellington . He is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and holds a master's degree in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Andrea, with whom he often collaborates, and his two children.
Brian has won numerous awards including two Caldecott Honors, four Coretta Scott King Honors and a Coretta Scott King Award, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. He has been exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, The Detroit Institute of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The School of Visual Arts, and The Society of Illustrators.
He has been published by Greenwillow Books, Hyperion Books for Young Readers, Little, Brown and Company, Feiwel & Friends, Harcourt Children's Books, Simon & Schuster, and Random House. His work has also appeared in New York Times Magazine, Women's Day, Business Tokyo, Ebony Man, and Instructor.
Week of February 13-Oge Mora - Oge Mora is a collage artist and storyteller. Her picture book, Thank You, Omu!, was a Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner, and Ezra Jack Keats Book Award recipient. Her second book, Saturday won the 2020 Boston Globe—Horn Book Picture Book Award. Oge’s artwork has been applauded by The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe. She also recently made the Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 list in Arts & Style.
Oge grew up in Columbus, Ohio but resides in Providence, RI. She is a fan of all things colorful, patterned, or collaged, and enjoys creating warm stories that celebrate people coming together.
Week of February 20-Nina Crews - Nina Crews is a critically acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator. Her first book, One Hot Summer Day, was published in 1995. Daughter of Donald Crews (Freight Train; Truck; Ten Black Dots; Shortcut ) and Ann Jonas (Crews) (Round Trip; The Quilt; Splash; Color Dance), she has followed in the “family business” creating picture books for young readers. Known for her distinctive photocollage style, Nina has recently put her camera aside to create digitally rendered and collaged illustrations in her latest projects.
Nina’s books include I'm Not Small, Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm's Fight for Change, A Girl Like Me, The Neighborhood Mother Goose, Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright, and Below. Her work has been recognized by the ALA Notable Committee, the Black Caucus of the ALA, The Horn Book, Junior Library Guild, NCTE, CCBC, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, Bank Street College of Education and many others.
I’m Not Small, the story of a preschooler’s first solo adventure in his backyard. It is a Horn Book Fanfare selection and been included on the Chicago Public Library Best Picture Books of 2022 List. Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm's Fight for Change is a Kirkus Best Book of 2022 and one of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature’s Best Books of 2022.
Nina is member of SCBWI and The Author’s Guild. She is a graduate of Yale University, where she received a BA in art and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program studio program for artists. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.
Week of February 27- Christian Robinson - Christian Robinson is an illustrator, author, animator, and designer based in Oakland, California. He was born in Los Angeles and grew up in a small one-bedroom apartment with his brother, two cousins, aunt, and grandmother. Drawing became a way to make space for himself and to create the kind of world he wanted to see. He studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts and would later work with the Sesame Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios before becoming an illustrator of books for children. The Christian Robinson for Target collection, released in August 2021, includes more than 70 items across home and apparel for kids and baby. His books include the #1 New York Times bestseller Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña, which was awarded a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, and the Newbery Medal, and the #1 New York Times bestseller The Bench, written by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex. His solo projects include Another, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2019, and the New York Times bestseller You Matter. His latest collaboration with Matt de la Peña, Milo Imagines The World, received six starred reviews and was a #1 Indie Bestseller and a New York TImes bestseller. He looks forward to one day seeing the aurora borealis.
We will read Ablaze with Color: The Story of Painter Alma Thomas and create a picture inspired by Alma Thomas' art.
Alma Thomas: During the 1960s Alma Thomas emerged as an exuberant colorist, abstracting shapes and patterns from the trees and flowers around her. Her new palette and technique—considerably lighter and looser than in her earlier representational works and dark abstractions—reflected her long study of color theory and the watercolor medium.
Red Sunset, Old Pond Concerto [SAAM, 1977.48.5] emphasizes the intensity of a sunset as it overtakes a landscape, penetrating layers of greenery to strike darkening water. Broken rows of color pats, a hallmark of her mature style, alternate with emphatic vertical bands. Their irregular intervals create a visual rhythm akin to music, while dappled reds, greens, and blue-blacks orchestrate subtle nuances and dramatic contrasts. Thomas frequently talked about "watching the leaves and flowers tossing in the wind as though they were singing and dancing." She also liked to imagine seeing natural forms from a plane. Her lyrical interpretation of a pond at sunset suggests a blending of these two perspectives.
As a black woman artist, Thomas encountered many barriers; she did not, however, turn to racial or feminist issues in her art, believing rather that the creative spirit is independent of race or gender. In Washington, D.C., where she lived and worked after 1921, Thomas became identified with Morris Louis, Gene Davis, and other Color Field painters active in the area since the 1950s. Like them, she explored the power of color and form in luminous, contemplative paintings.
Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum
We will read Whoosh! Loonie Johnson's Super Stream of Ideas and build a water bottle rocket launcher.
Lonnie Johnson: Lonnie Johnson is president and founder of Johnson Research and Development Co., Inc., a technology development company, and its spin off companies, Excellatron Solid State, LLC; Johnson Electro- Mechanical Systems, LLC; and Johnson Real Estate Investments, LLC.
Johnson holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering, and an honorary Ph.D. in Science from Tuskegee University. Upon graduation, he worked as a research engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and then joined the U. S. Air Force, serving as Acting Chief of the Space Nuclear Power Safety Section at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1979, he left the Air Force to accept a position as Senior Systems Engineer at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter. Returning to the Air Force in 1982, he served as an Advanced Space Systems Requirements Officer at Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and as Chief of the Data Management Branch, SAC Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal on two different occasions. In 1987, he returned to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he worked on the Mars Observer project and was the fault protection engineer during the early stages of the Cassini (Saturn) project. He was responsible for ensuring that single point spacecraft failures would not result in loss of the mission. During his nine year career with JPL, he received multiple achievement awards from NASA for his work in spacecraft system design.
In 1989, Johnson formed his own engineering firm and licensed his most famous invention, the Super Soaker® water gun, to Larami Corporation. Two years later, the Super Soaker®, generated over $200 million in retail sales, and became the number one selling toy in America. Larami Corporation was eventually purchased by Hasbro Corporation, the second largest toy manufacturer in the world. Over the years, Super Soaker® sales have totaled close to one billion dollars. Currently, Lonnie Johnson holds over 100 patents, with over 20 more pending, and is the author of several publications on spacecraft power systems.
Two of Johnson’s companies, Excellatron Solid State and Johnson Battery Technologies, Inc. (JBT) are developing revolutionary energy technology.
JBT is introducing a new generation of rechargeable battery technology which has the potential to revolutionize the battery industry. Providing a source of energy many times that which exists today in a substantially reduced size, this technology will solve many of the problems related to technology mobility in the future.
Excellatron has developed a thermodynamic energy conversion technology that converts thermal energy to electrical energy with significant advantages over alternative systems. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the global energy market when fully commercialized.
We will Participate in an informational scavenger hunt to learn more about important historical figures and how to find information in a book.
Next to John Brown himself, perhaps the most recognizable and evocative image of John Brown’s Raid is the haunting portrait of raider Dangerfield Newby. Jon-Erik Gilot's talk follows Newby from his childhood in Virginia and his life in the Ohio Valley, to his death at Harpers Ferry, his legacy in popular culture, and how the Newby family continued Dangerfield’s fight for freedom after his death. For the first time Gilot will also be sharing some groundbreaking, thought to be never-before-published information related to Newby.
Renowned actor and college theater instructor, Marvin Jefferson, will present an historical portrayal of Paul Robeson's life and myriad accomplishments. Robeson was an American bass-baritone concert artist, stage and film actor, professional football player, and activist who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political stances.
Paul Robeson, A Chautauqua
Developed and Performed By
Mr. Jefferson brings the life of Paul Robeson alive through first person historical characterization.
Paul Robeson, one of the most well known African-Americans of the mid-20th century was truly a Renaissance man of the highest order: Singer, Actor, Scholar, Social Activist, All American Athlete, Linguist, Humanist and Advocate for International Peace.
Mr. Jefferson has built a national reputation for his portrayal of Paul Robeson over the past 25 years where he has performed extensively in the New Jersey/New York area as well as in Ohio, Maryland, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire and North and South Carolina.
The program is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and it consists of 3 parts:
1. Paul Robeson will tell the audience some stories about his life.
2. Mr. Robeson will then invite questions from the audience regarding his life and views.
3. Mr. Jefferson will then “step” out of the Paul Robeson persona and answer questions about Paul Robeson and himself.
For the Ann Thomas Memorial Lecture (also dedicated in 2023 to Wheeling educator Eileen Miller) Lunch With Books is honored to host Michelle Duster, an author, speaker, public historian, professor, and champion of racial and gender equity.
Michelle is the great-granddaughter of Civil Rights pioneer, journalist, and suffragist, Ida B. Wells.
She has written, edited, or contributed to several dozen articles and over 20 books, including IDA B THE QUEEN: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE AND LEGACY OF IDA B WELLS.
Her presentation is called: Separate and Unequal Education: From Ida B. Wells’ Time to the Present African Americans have faced barriers in obtaining equal educational resources from the end of the Civil War until the present. Michelle Duster’s paternal great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells, was formally educated and worked as a teacher in separate and unequal schools. She exposed the inequality and lost her job. Expanding on her article, “My great-grandmother Ida B. Wells left a legacy of activism in education. We need that now”, Michelle will discuss the realities that African Americans have faced in their quest for education, why they built their own institutions, and how equality is still elusive.
Most people familiar with Wheeling’s history know that Lincoln was the segregated public school in town during Jim Crow. But many remain unaware of the segregated Catholic school. We will present a brief history of Blessed Martin School, which was located in East Wheeling, and hear from some of its attendees and graduates.
The Civic Empathy Through History- Wheeling's 20th Man exhibit was officially opened on Sept. 27, 2022 at an 11 am event. Since opening the exhibit, project, and programs have attracted hundreds of visitors to the Ohio County Public Library to learn about Wheeling's black history. The exhibit has been featured statewide on West Virginia Public Broadcasting radio and local students from Wheeling Central Catholic High School won first place in the state for a film featuring documents from the exhibit in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Committee Essay, Film, and Song Contest.
The Library's featured artifact is a typewritten speech from the YWCA Blue Triangle Collection. On February 9, 1936, Harry H. Jones, Wheeling’s only African American attorney at the time, delivered a talk on the city’s white-owned radio station WWVA. Titled “Wheeling’s 20th Man,” it referred to Black’s representing one twentieth, or 5%, of the city’s population at the time. The speech centered on the conditions faced by Wheeling’s African American citizens under “Jim Crow,” a system designed to segregate Black and White citizens into separate communities. In a courageous challenge to the Wheeling community, Jones asked people to consider the inequality of Jim Crow, in terms of access to jobs, housing, recreation, and education. He appealed for empathy for the African American community and asked listeners to consider the legal and social changes needed to address these inequities. In 2022, Ron Scott, Jr. recorded a new version of this speech to modern audiences.