@ Your Library
Recent library events, news and more.
TV Turnoff Week is April 20th through the 26th. If you’re looking for alternatives to watching TV, playing video games, or otherwise engaging in screen media - there’s a lot to choose from here at Kalamazoo Public Library.
Tune in to real live fun right here in your community. And if you’re not looking for alternatives to screen media, Kalamazoo Public Library has lots of movies and video games as well as internet access and even downloadable DVD quality programming from MyLibraryDV. These services and more are available just like always and they’re always free of charge.
TV Turnoff Week
Hearing a great writer read their own work can be something very special, and Francine Prose’s reading at the Kalamazoo Public Library on March 12th certainly qualifies. Prose who was in Kalamazoo as part of the Spring 2009 Gwen Frostic Reading Series, read to large crowd at the Central Library through a partnership with Western Michigan Universities Creative Writing Program.
A National Book Award finalist and multiple award-winning, novel, short-story and nonfiction writer, Prose’s ability as a writer is without question. But to hear her read a newly completed short story, Prose admitted to finishing the story only a week earlier, about a jeweler in Nazi Germany and his weird and fascinating encounter with a cross-dressing, morphine addicted Hermann Göring, Nazi leader and commander of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), in her own voice and with the intended pace was truly special.
The story was strange, satirical, haunting and contained such a well constructed plot twist that it nearly gave every one of the 100 people in the audience whiplash. What a treat it was to hear Francine Prose read and what an honor it was for the Kalamazoo Public Library to host her.
Francine Prose at the Kalamazoo Public Library
The civil rights movement was a time of intense conflict, but also a time of great courage. On February 23, we were privileged to host a program about the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Rides.
We hosted two Mississippi natives for the program. Miller Green, now living in Chicago, was arrested in a Jackson bus station. Eric Etheridge is an author whose book is Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders.
Late in 1960, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawed segregation in interstate bus terminals. On May 4, 1961, there were 13 people who made the first Freedom Ride to test the compliance of bus stations with the ruling. This, and subsequent rides, encountered increasingly violent resistance. Though there were Freedom Rides across the South, the campaign’s primary focus became Jackson, Mississippi. More than 300 Riders were arrested there, photographed, and convicted of breach of peace.
In 2004, journalist Eric Etheridge, a Mississippi native, ran across the mug shots of some 328 Freedom Riders arrested in Jackson. Etheridge decided to publish the photographs and, where possible, include new photos and stories of the Riders.
Green shared stories of his arrest on July 6, 1961 at the Trailways terminal in Jackson, and his harrowing experiences in jail. After his release, Green worked on voter registration and civil rights issues in Mississippi, and moved to Chicago where he has lived since 1963.
He also talked about his childhood friend, Bobby Joe, a white boy. Miller and Bobby Joe were the only children in their Yazoo City neighborhood, and played together constantly. “We were in each other’s houses, eating at each other’s tables, together all the time,” he said. One day, when the boys were around 6 years old, Bobby Joe’s mother received an anonymous letter criticizing the parents for allowing the boys to play together. At this point, both families agreed it would be too dangerous to let them continue playing.
From that point on, the boys would stand across from each other, on opposite sites of the street, and talk. Each boy would play alone, imagining the other was with him. “It left a scar,” Miller said, putting his hand on his chest.
See also: Authors@Google: Eric Etheridge, June 24, 2008
Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders