James was a slave in Virginia when the American Revolution began. Wanting to earn his freedom while helping the new country, he volunteered for the Revolutionary Army, with the promise of his freedom at the war’s end—if the Americans were victorious.
He was assigned to work for the young and brilliant French commander who was helping George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette had a special job for James. He wanted him to become a spy. James agreed and appeared at a British camp in tattered clothes, asking for work. The British, discovering how clever James was, asked him to spy for them!
Brought to us by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, this presentation examines the multifaceted and highly politicized dimensions of “race” and American identity depicted in the artistic productions of African American artists. Our lecturer is Dr. Evie Terrono, Professor of Art History at Randolph-Macon College. Dr. Terrono will introduce us to artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Faith Ringgold, Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, Kehinde Wiley, and Hank Willis Thomas, among others. She will discuss how the transition from slavery to the Civil War to the Civil Rights period in the 1960s and 1970s can be viewed in their works.
The event will be at the Headquarters Library on Thursday, February 9, 7:00-8:00.
Lin-Manuel Miranda worked for six years to do the book, music, and lyrics for his hip-hop musical Hamilton. The musical explores the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the Caribbean, who came to America and helped found our country’s financial system and, of course, was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. The musical has won the Pulitzer Prize, a Grammy, and 10 Tony awards. I love all 23,000 words of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton. The songs become earworms as they just make you replay them.
If you don’t have enough Hamilton $10 bills to get a pricey ticket to the Broadway production or time to wait in line for the cheaper Broadway lottery tickets for the play, check out the music CDs at the library from the original Broadway cast, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s backstage pass in Hamilton: The Revolution; and the book it is based on, Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton.
Kwanzaa, celebrated between December 26 and January 1, is a time for families in the African-American community to come together and enjoy their heritage. Unlike many holidays, Kwanzaa was created by one person, Maulana Karenga, in 1966. He named the celebration Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits" in Swahili.
What do traffic lights, self-inking stamps, and blood banks all have in common? They’re just a few of the contributions by African American inventors we’re highlighting in a rotating series of interactive displays this February!