You’re invited to a FREE public performance of Sweet Chariot, presented by the Virginia Repertory Theatre on Tour. The play will be held at the Aurora City Park Pavilion on Thursday, February 27th at 11:00 AM.
Virginia Rep’s production of Sweet Chariot shares the narratives of the ex-enslaved, as told to WPA writers. These stories were compiled in the‘Slave Narrative Collection’. Over two thousand interviews with former enslaved people were conducted in seventeen states during the years 1936-38. Virginia Rep combines these first-hand accounts of life as an enslaved person and emancipation with enslaved spirituals to recreate a world of longing and hope in Sweet Chariot.
The spirituals not only held religious meaning for African-American enslaved people, they also served as a means of communication, especially along the Underground Railroad. Through spirituals that served as coded messages, enslaved people could issue a warning to others or communicate plans for escape or uprising. The play asks, “Did you make history today?” Enrich your history by experiencing the rich historical narratives and spirituals that tell the stories of African-American enslaved people in Sweet Chariot.
Hollywood often turns to literature for inspiration. In the past two months we’ve seen new versions of Little Women and Dr. Doolittle. The newest adaptation of Jack London’s Call of the Wild will be released in theaters on February 21st and looks very promising. Call of the Wild is a very short novel; it was first published in four installments in the Saturday Evening Post. That makes it a great book to read with your family before seeing the film!
Jack London had spent a year in the Yukon at the height of the gold rush, and he wrote Call of the Wild after returning to California. He sold the publishing rights in 1903 and the book has been in print ever since.
The book is obviously in the genre of animal fiction, but can also be looked at as a hero story, and it follows the example of other American classics like Huckleberry Finn in its depiction of a hero returning to nature.
After reading Call of the Wild, you’ll want to also check out London’s other dog story, White Fang.
The Aurora Public Library District joins nearly 16,000 libraries and thousands of readers across the country in offering the first Together We Read: US digital book club selection. From February 19–March 4, Aurora Public Library District patrons can enjoy and discuss award-winning author Pat Simmons’ new Lean on Me romance e-book for free with no waitlists or holds. Readers can access the e-book with a valid library card by visiting https://iddc.overdrive.com/iddc-aurora/content or by downloading the Libby app, and then can participate in a discussion with other readers online.
Lean on Me tells the story of Tabitha Knicely, a woman overwhelmed with sorrow and exhaustion caring for her beloved great-aunt, whose dementia is getting worse. When her neighbor Marcus Whittington accuses Tabitha of elder neglect, he doesn’t realize how his threats to have Aunt Tweet taken away add to Tabitha’s pain. Then Marcus gets to know the exuberant elderly lady and sees up close how hard Tabitha is fighting to keep everything together. Tabitha finds herself leaning on Marcus more, and he’s becoming more than happy to share her burdens.
The Together We Read: US digital book club connects readers in America through public libraries with the same e-book at the same time. This two-week program only requires an Aurora Public Library District card and PIN to get started.
The fight for Civil Rights in America is a continuing struggle, but it’s often difficult to know how to discuss these issues with our children. Here are some resources from the Aurora Public Library District that can help you on that path. Click on each picture to see the full description of the book in our online catalog. Some of my choices are for young children and others are more appropriate for older students, but reading the descriptions or clicking on the “Reviews” link for that book will often show you a recommended age level.
The quotations on this blog post are all from the book Powerful Words: More than 200 Years of Extraordinary Writing by African-Americans.
“… however variable we may be in society or religion, however diversified in situation or colour, we are all of the same family…” Benjamin Banneker in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1791
” The student of American sociology will find the year 1894 marked by a pronounced awakening of the public conscience to a system of anarchy and outlawry which has grown during a series of ten years to be so common, that scenes of unusual brutality failed to have any visible effect upon the humane sentiments of the people of our land.”
Ida B. Wells in A Red Record, 1895
“…the Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from according differential treatment to American children on the basis of their color or race.” – Thurgood Marshall in Brown vs. Board of Education, 1953
“I was determined to achieve the total freedom that our history lessons taught us we were entitled to, no matter what the sacrifice.” – Rosa Parks in Rosa Parks: My Story
“My right and privilege to stand here before you has been won – won in my lifetime – by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.” – Jesse Jackson, 1988
“Now, more than ever before, America is challenged to bring her noble dream into reality, and those who are working to implement the American dream are the true saviors of democracy.” – Martin Luther King, 1961
“We are attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.” – Barbara Jordan, 1976