Spiritualism in the Lincoln White House? Woman suffrage as the key to white supremacy? The February release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia unearths these and other historical items for scholarly re-examination.
he Creole Case, and Mr. Webster's Despatch; with the Comments of the N.Y. American (1842)
Attributed to William Jay, son of the great jurist John Jay, this imprint explores the implications of one of the most successful slave insurrections in history, achieved with little bloodshed, aboard the Creole. Of the leader of the rebellion, Madison Washington, Jay writes, "The sagacity, bravery and humanity of this man do honor to his name, and, but for his complexion, would excite universal admiration."
For American teenagers of the millennial generation, it may be difficult to imagine that a band as established as The Beatles was once viewed as exotic. Yet when they landed at Kennedy Airport on their first U.S. tour in February 1964, they were viewed as curious foreigners with a completely fresh sound, humor and style.
During late 1963, the American press had begun to note The Beatles’ rising popularity in Britain, but coverage dramatically expanded that December when the Beatles reached agreement to appear on America’s most watched variety hour, The Ed Sullivan Show.
In 1925 Carter G. Woodson and his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History created Negro History Week. A half century later, during the U.S. bicentennial, this formal period for recognizing African American contributions to our national history was expanded to a month. At that time President Gerald Ford asked Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” During this 2014 celebration of African American History month, Readex is pleased to highlight these five new and recent resources:
Erica Armstrong Dunbar holds many titles—scholar, historian, professor—and, as dozens of academic librarians recently learned, spellbinding storyteller.
Speaking at a special breakfast event at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, Dunbar—Director of the African American History Program at The Library Company of Philadelphia—unraveled the fascinating tale of Ona Judge Staines, a slave who escaped from George Washington’s family in 1796. Philadelphia was an appropriate setting for such a story. The executive mansion at 524-30 Market Street, where Judge lived, served, and from which she ultimately escaped, stands just four blocks from where we met for Dunbar’s talk.
Through Dunbar’s extensive research into Judge’s life, the audience came to understand the enslaved young woman’s unique circumstances and why she so feared a move to Mount Vernon after Washington’s retirement from the presidency. As I listened to Ona’s story, I yearned to see the face of this woman who, despite Washington’s ongoing attempts to find her, evaded capture for the rest of her life.