“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when adults are afraid of the light.” Attributed to Plato, (428 BC – 348 BC).
At times it seems that the designation of special months is at best redundant, sometimes trying to cram a millennium of history into a 30-day span. And yet, it’s good to focus, and so we highlight a couple of monumental issues that claim March as their month to shine.
- Women’s History is of relatively recent origin. First identified in 1982 as Women’s History Week the recognition gathered momentum and time until 1995 when the topic of women’s history flowered as an entire month. The Law Library of Congress has actually collected the laws, proclamations and resolutions related to the saga of Women’s History Month. The National Archives offers an informative – and fun – starting point to understanding the history: https://womenshistorymonth.gov Check out the Women’s History Month website sponsored by the National Women’s History Project here: http://www.nwhp.org/about-2/our-history/ Other sites are sponsored by the National Park Service, the Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Humanities, all of which offer myriad programs and resources that serve as starting points for local groups that need a spark to light a fire under their Women’s History Month plans.
- March is also Irish-American Heritage Month Here’s the official Presidential Proclamation: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-march-2018-irish-american-heritage-month/ The Library of Congress offers a robust website that really is worth a visit. https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2018/03/irish-american-heritage-month-new-resources/
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The calendar of Women’s History Month activities is prodigious – just a couple of highlights give a flavor:
- The East Side Freedom Library and the Minnesota Historical Society are working together on a special program set for Saturday, March 24, 1:00 PM at ESFL. Objectivity: ’68 to today: Women’s activism: Dolores Huerta. The program includes a play written by the MNHS Teen Action Group and the examination of historical objects from the MNHS collection. Focus is on Dolores Huerta, an unsung figure in the fight for equality. Also featured is an examination of the intersections between the women’s movement and race, communities in Minnesota and the national context, labor rights and civil rights.
- Also at ESFL, “Let’s Talk about Hmong Women: Leadership Thursday, March 15, 6:30 pm. This is the first in a four-part series of conversations led by members of Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together. Future conversations are set for June 1 (Patriarchy), September 13 (Motherhood), and November 8 (spirituality)
- At the U of M Walter Library, March 30 – “Make or Break: Women in Technology Rich Spaces” 9:30 AM-11:00AM. Women from across the U of M campus discuss the topic. Speakers include Charlene Ellingson, Samantha Thi Porter, Robin Schwartzman and Simone Vuong. Registration required.
Also at the University of Minnesota:
- Digging up the past: Hidden African Americana histories across collections. Monday, March 19, 5:00 PM. Elmer L. Andersen Library, Givens Conference Suite, Room 120. https://events.umn.edu/health-sciences/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=event_b&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::context_id=E4DF4418-48CD-4F34-B0EF-28CE7EF896F5(https://events.umn.edu/health-sciences/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=event_b&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::context_id=E4DF4418-48CD-4F34-B0EF-28CE7EF896F5)
- 2018 Kerlan Award Ceremony, March 27, 5:30 PM. Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120. Free and open. https://www.lib.umn.edu/clrc/kerlan-award
Lots happening at the State Capitol in days to come, including these events:
- Tuesday, March 6, is Arts Advocacy Day (http://artsmn.org/act/events/arts-advocacy-day/)
- Thursday, March 8, is History Matters Day (http://www.mnhs.org/historymatters)
Aging with Dignity and Respect: It’s a social justice issue. Tuesday, March 20, 1:00 PM, East Side Neighborhood Services, 1700 Second Street NE, Mpls. Free and Open. Sponsored by Vital Aging Network. Register 651 917 4652.
World Storytelling Day (www.globalastorytellingday.org) is an annual celebration of the theme “If I can hear our story, it’s harder for me to hate you.” The theme explored this year by local advocates is “Wise Fools: Wisdom on the folly of war.” Storytelling Day 2018 will be celebrated locally on Tuesday, March 20 at the Landmark Center in downtown St Paul (www.landmarkcenter.org) Six storytellers will share stories reflecting the theme. The event is free and open. Learn more about the event and prime mover Larry Johnson here: (https://www.hometownsource.com/sun_post/community/golden-valley-resident-draws-international-attention-to-the-art-of/article_282a7376-1c9f-11e8-83cc-1f20f00f22c1.html
“Working—The Musical” reflects “the hopes dreams and heartbreak of the American working class expressed in the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Taylor and others. The show runs March 16-18 at The O’Shaughnessy on the campus of St. Catherine University. https://oshag.stkate.edu/events/category/series/working-the-musical/
Opening March 14 at the American Craft Council – Ani Kasten, artist, ceramist and sculptor. Details here: https://craftcouncil.org/event/ani-kasten-ceramists-journey
The National Book Critics Circle has announced finalists for 2017 awards: http://bookcritics.org/blog/archive/national-book-critics-circle-announces-finalists-for-2017-awards
Plans are well underway for the 37th annual Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival (https://filmfreeway.com/mspiff) Focus this year will be on Chinese cinema with films from China to be presented throughout the Festival.
Upcoming on Talk of the Stacks sponsored by Friends of the Hennepin County Library: Alex Sager on Tuesday, April 24 and Tracy Smith on May 16. https://www.supporthclib.org/sites/default/files/2018%20Talk%20of%20the%20Stacks%20Press%20Release.pdf
“To Be Honest” is the theme of a series of programs sponsored by The Loft, March through May. (https://www.loft.org/events__programs/thematic_series/to_be_honest/)
Poet Billy Collins hosts a unique resource designed to create a love of poetry with young people. Poetry 180 offers a poem a day for high school students – the 180 refers to the fact that the project is for school days only. https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/
Some fun links:
- Comic books, now fashioned as graphic novels and other formats, aren’t what they used to be – and yet issues of intellectual freedom and accessibility persist. For an interesting review of “comics and intellectual freedom” check out this recent history of comic book censorship from the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=8259&loclr=eanw
- Tianjin Binhai Library https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/tianjin-binhai-library
- Quilts as tools for resistance https://hyperallergic.com/429923/quilt-con-2018-modern-quilt-guild/
- The Library of Congress inaugurated Jacqueline Woodson as the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. https://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=8247&loclr=eanw
- Justice through the perspective of an eyewitness artist https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2017/04/2017-law-day-event-justice-through-the-perspective-of-an-eyewitness-artist/ – Discussion of courtroom illustration with courtroom artists.