When the Beat Was Born, by Laban Carrick Hill, is a stunning example of just how wonderfully diverse the world of children's biographies is getting. This picture book offers a look into the life of DJ Kool Herc, one of the founders and innovators of hip-hop music.
Hill's words, when combined with Theodore Taylor III's crisp, colorful illustrations, depict how a boy named Clive left Kingston, Jamaica, for the Bronx. Clive wanted to be a DJ, slinging an arsenal of records and getting crowds amped up at parties.
Faith Ringgold is an artist who uses different materials to tell the stories that are important to her family and her people. Whether working with quilting squares, African masks, paint and brush, or her own words, Faith gives the rich colors and textures a life of their own. There's motion in her work, a striving upward and pushing at the edges of her world.
This interview airs beginning July 18.
Eugene Williams, Jr., is a writer, poet, singer, professional actor, and teacher with a strong message for black youth. His energy and enthusiasm are unbounded. He joins Debby Klein on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.
This interview airs beginning July 11.
Educator, musician, and former member of the award-winning blues group “Saffire—the Uppity Blues Women,” Gaye Adegbalola shares her past as a civil rights activist and a deep lover of music with Debby Klein on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.
This interview airs beginning July 4.
Dylan Pritchett’s African and African-American folktales and music bring history to life for audiences, young and old. His stories are lasting and universal and relate to the experiences of everyday life. Dylan chats with Debby Klein and shows us how he brings the story to life on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library Production.
The Seventeenth Child, by Dorothy Marie Rice & Lucille Mabel Walthall Payne, sets down the memories of a childhood lived in the countryside of 1930s Virginia by a black woman who grew up before the Civil Rights Movement made so many gains. These remembrances are plain, soft-spoken and ring true to an age that was certainly different from the one we know. In some ways, it was a harder time as in her earliest years even basic food was very hard to come by and the sharecropping system made it difficult for all farmers, black and white, to get ahead or even stay afloat during the bad harvest years.
But it was the warmth of family, faith, shared hardship and simple joys that made those days good as well as difficult. The children worked, not only because their help was needed but because it was understood that working was a good thing in and of itself. They helped pull and tend tobacco, can vegetables, sew quilts, raise chickens, and shell corn. Lucille Payne tells of how hard it was to earn money. How sometimes her mother might not be paid much more than fifty cents for a hard day’s washing of filthy clothes in a dark and cold shed. Well, fifty cents and a hambone that might not be fit to eat without it being scrubbed, too, and sometimes not even then. But her mother said, “Well, you accept what they give you; next time it might be better.”
It wasn’t all about acceptance. Sometimes Lucille would see her mother spit in the water while she washed and she would ask her why she did that. “That helps to get them clean.” But I know she was just so angry because she had to survive. When you have so many children you have to survive the best way you can. Likewise, when white children rode the bus to their segregated school, leaving the black children to walk and even calling them names, the black children got a bit of revenge…and a chance to be better than their so-called betters with an act of charity.
This interview airs beginning November 23.
As Executive Vice President of MediCorp Health Systems and President of the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation, Xavier Richardson has an opportunity to affect the lives of many people in the Fredericksburg area. Debby Klein talks to Xavier about his job and his avocation, which he dedicates to youth, on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.
This interview airs beginning May 25.
Providing education and promoting awareness to improve health care services to our community is the Fredericksburg Area Sickle Cell Association led by Janice Davies, Lidia McCaskill, and a group of dedicated volunteers. Debby Klein visits Mrs. Davies and Mrs. McCaskill to learn about control of this disease and working toward a cure on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.
Black History Month begins tomorrow and the library has recently updated the bibliography, “Our Stories: The African-American Experience,” recommending many wonderful recently published titles. Here are just a few of the historical picture books that made the list.
Two titles are Caldecott Honor winners. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, tells the true story of Henry “Box” Brown. When his wife and children are sold to pay for their master’s debts, Henry can stand it no longer. With the help of a white doctor, he hides inside a wooden crate and mails himself to an abolitionist in Philadelphia. Travelling by train and boat he at last arrives to freedom.
The details painted on every character’s face are a powerful complement to the text. Henry’s joy in his family and the pain at their loss are beautifully conveyed. The picture of Henry upside down in his box is my favorite. One hand is splayed, reaching towards the reader as he struggles to hold himself up just a little, attempting to relieve some of the pressure on his head, neck and shoulders.
Between April and September 1862, an estimated 10,000 slaves fled the South through our region. As part of the local Civil War Sesquicentennial commemorations, the Trail to Freedom project was designed to give the public a better understanding of the experiences of those whom the war impacted greatly but are often only a footnote in history books.