For The Masses:
Reblog to save a life.
We live in a “diverse and often fractious country,” writes Robert Dawson, but there are some things that unite us—among them, our love of libraries. “A locally governed and tax-supported system that dispenses knowledge and information for everyone throughout the country at no cost to its patrons is an astonishing thing,” the photographer writes in the introduction to his book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay. “It is a shared commons of our ambitions, our dreams, our memories, our culture, and ourselves.”
But what do these places look like? Over the course of 18 years, Dawson found out. Inspired by “the long history of photographic survey projects,” he traveled thousands of miles and photographed hundreds of public libraries in nearly all 50 states. Looking at the photos, the conclusion is unavoidable: American libraries are as diverse as Americans. They’re large and small, old and new, urban and rural, and in poor and wealthy communities. Architecturally, they represent a range of styles, from the grand main branch of the New York Public Library to the humble trailer that serves as a library in Death Valley National Park, the hottest place on Earth. “Because they’re all locally funded, libraries reflect the communities they’re in,” Dawson said in an interview. “The diversity reflects who we are as a people.”
We love libraries!!
This is why the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign is so important. Because this happens too many times to diverse pubbed authors and white authors who dare to write diversely. Our books are “too gay” “too black” “too hispanic” “too oriental” “too ethnic” - but they are usually couched in words like “there are concerns” “our students can’t relate” “problematic material” “too mature” “beyond their comfort level” “will create issues,” etc.
We need to open the eyes of these gatekeepers and make them realize how narrow minded they are being. In trying to protect their kids, instead, they continue to provide an educational setting where racism and bigotry will grow unchecked by positive diverse role models. ALL children need diverse books. And gatekeepers, whether they are parents, teachers, librarians, or other school educators, by denying diversity to their student body, you are doing more harm than good.
Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman: Voice and the Embodiment of a Costly Performance
Black Beauty: Aesthetics, Stylization, Politics
Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence
Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America
Ain’t I a Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race
Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts
Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History
The Black Woman: An Anthology
Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence
The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes From Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop
EUROPEANS TAUGHT FOR CENTURIES that Africa had no written history, literature or philosophy (claiming Egypt was other than African). When roughly 1 MILLION manuscripts were found in Timbuktu/Mali covering , according to Reuters “all the fields of human knowledge: law, the sciences, medicine,” IT DID NOT MAKE MAINSTREAM NEWS as did the lies taught by Europeans concerning Africa
Someone asked me to somehow “verify” that this story is real.
Of course it’s real! The PROBLEM with the coverage regarding these manuscripts is that they’re constantly portrayed as being in “danger” because many of them are still in the possession of Malian descendants. About 700,000 have been cataloged so far, and they have had to be moved in part because apparently extremist groups have tried to firebomb them. Many others are still in the possession of the families they have been passed down in.
Many of these collected manuscripts are being housed in exile, but mold and humidity have been a constant threat. They have been raising funds to try and preserve these manuscripts-you can read more about the project to house and protect them here.
A bit of the history of these manuscripts from National Geographic:
These sacred manuscripts covered an array of subjects: astronomy, medicine, mathematics, chemistry, judicial law, government, and Islamic conflict resolution. Islamic study during this period of human history, when the intellectual evolution had stalled in the rest of Europe was growing, evolving, and breaking new ground in the fields of science, mathematics, astronomy, law, and philosophy within the Muslim world.
By the 1300s the “Ambassadors of Peace” centered around the University of Timbuktu created roving scholastic campuses and religious schools of learning that traveled between the cities of Timbuktu, Gao, and Djénné, helping to serve as a model of peaceful governance throughout an often conflict-riddled tribal region.
At its peak, over 25,000 students attended the University of Timbuktu.
By the beginning of the 1600s with the Moroccan invasions from the north, however, the scholars of Timbuktu began to slowly drift away and study elsewhere. As a result, the city’s sacred manuscripts began to fall into disrepair. While Islamic teachings there continued for another 300 years, the biggest decline in scholastic study occurred with the French colonization of present-day Mali in the late 1890s.
So yeah, basically the story of this collection’s source more or less ends with “…but unfortunately, colonialism”, as do most of the great cities of Africa, the Americas, and some parts of Asia.
Also, as an additional consideration:
With the pressures of poverty, a series of droughts, and a tribal Tureg rebellion in Mali that lasted over ten years, the manuscripts continue to disappear into the black market, where they are illegally sold to private and university collections in Europe and the United States.
Notice where the blame is placed here via language use: on the people in poverty forced to sell their treasures, as opposed to the Universities in Europe and the U.S. buying them.
It’s really just another face of Neocolonialism.
MIND BLOWN! The concept and design of this video is ASTONISHING!
I’ve seldom seen a more eloquent or visually striking argument for funding public libraries.
Absolutely amazing polymer clay journals by © Anna Kolesnikova (Mandarin Duck). Take a look at her portfolio, it’s really something.
You can look around in her Etsy shop here.
Also she has a very cool YouTube channel filled with tutorials and all kinds of crafty videos.
Become a fan of her on Facebook here.