History & Politics

01/27/2015 - 10:09am
Gladys Poles Todd, Courtesy of the Free Lance-Star

Gladys Poles Todd, long-time Fredericksburg resident, died recently at the age of 101, having witnessed and been a part of the city’s changeover from its days of segregation. She lived to see schools and lunch counters integrated, and she was an important force behind making that happen. Among her many works, Mrs. Todd organized sit-ins, led voter registration drives, and supervised night study programs.

Her obituary gives a goodly number of details from her long and generous life, but you may also wish to read more about her in Fitzgerald’s A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania.

In 1997, she and other local leaders in the Civil Rights era got together for a forum at the library to discuss those difficult days. Fortunately, the program, Civil Rights: Fredericksburg’s Story, was recorded in DVD format and can be checked out.

Besides a historic legacy to be shared by the community, Mrs. Todd also left a personal record of her life. Her oral history, part of HFFI’s Pieces of Our Past series, is available to read in the Virginiana Room of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Photo courtesy of The Free Lance-Star
12/08/2014 - 4:23pm
The Beats: A Graphic History by Harvey Pekar and Ed Piskor

“...the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” - Jack Kerouac's On the Road 

The Beats: A Graphic History tackles the generation of post-World War II writers who revealed an untold side of America while pushing censors' boundaries with their writing style.

11/25/2014 - 8:54am
This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky is a memoir set in the rugged, sheep-raising terrain of Montana. It was a time when the last of the small-town ranchers were on their way out, pushed along by the Great Depression and rich men buying up failed farms to add to their own.

The author’s people were not of the rich kind. They were scrappy, immigrant stock. Ivan’s grandfather came with family from Scotland. They ran sheep til their luck ran out. Then they worked for the big ranchers.  Ivan’s father was a little guy, but he broke broncos—sometimes breaking his own bones doing it -- rode herd on sheep, bossed the other hands, and fell in love with a 16-year-old girl.

10/21/2014 - 8:10am
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

The ten Boom family lived a quiet, respectable life in the Dutch town of Haarlem. Corrie and her father made and repaired clocks. Her sister was their housekeeper. They were loved by the community. But in neighboring countries, Nazi Germany was rising, and soon it would sweep into the Netherlands.

10/15/2014 - 8:38am
Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2 by Ed Piskor

Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2 picks up right where Ed Piskor's first phenomenal graphic novel left off. By 1981, the record industry has started to capitalize on the raw talent of urban youth. The sounds are slicker and the rhymes are tighter, but Piskor manages to find and highlight the raw edges of the musical movement.

09/24/2014 - 3:00am
I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman

I Wear the Black Hat is Chuck Klosterman's sixth book of cultural essays and the first one to explore villainy in all of its forms. 

05/22/2014 - 10:12am
White Oak Primitive Baptist Church

The simple house of worship on White Oak Road, across from the White Oak Civil War Museum, has its historic roots in the separation of church and state and was a hub of Union Army activity in the winter of 1862-63.

05/14/2014 - 3:00am
Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

"Stepping in a rhythm to a Kurtis Blow. 
Who needs to think when your feet just go?"

                                                Tom Tom Club - The Genius of Love

Ed Piskor cannot rap or dance. He is no good with turntables or sampling. What Piskor can do is draw, which is why Hip Hop Family Tree is such an important testament to honoring the innovators and pioneers of the culture.

04/22/2014 - 2:35pm
Discover the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House

In the spring of 1864—150 years ago—the toil, sacrifice, and destruction of three years of Civil War merged into a swelling Union tide whose advance seemed inexorable, even if its success and destination remained in doubt. The Civil War became a whirlwind, rushing southward through Virginia and the Confederacy. Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg joined the lengthening list of the nation’s bloody battlefields.  That divided nation and the world watched intently, for that spring and summer the final course of the war would be set.

 

04/22/2014 - 11:52am
You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, by Tom Gauld, is to literature and history what Gary Larson's The Far Side is to biology and beehive hairdos. Gauld takes on Dickens and Shakespeare with whimsical glee. He muses on the creativity of artists and writers while conjuring ridiculous asides.

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