Activists, athletes, and actors - the Walpole Library tried to represent as many parts of American life as they could fit. Photos by Alex Oliveira
By Alex Oliveira
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Throughout the month of February, the Walpole Public Library has reserved a corner of the children’s section to for an educational display about Black History Month. Featuring a board of notable African Americans from throughout history and a section of accompanying books, the display intends to educate kids about the integral role of Black Americans in our nation’s culture and history.
Prominently featuring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alongside an excerpt of his “I Have a Dream” speech at the center of the board, the display is adorned with photographs and brief stories of about 39 African Americans whose lives have left a significant impact on American society.
“We wanted to not just focus on civil rights figures from over the years, I wanted to do all kinds of people going all the way back to the Civil War era, and all the way forwords,” said one of the children’s librarians. “We did what we could to go further back than the Civil War, but the record keeping of the history quickly becomes limited before then.”
The display succeeds at touching all facets of American society. Frederick Douglass sits with a determined stoicism next to Jimi Hendrix, while Jackie Robinson swings his bat alongside Shirley Chisolm as she gives a speech during her presidential run.
“We put as many as we could fit,” said the librarian. “There’s so many more out there. I had a bit of a warm spot for Mae Jemison - astronauts are pretty cool. They’re physicists, they’re scientists, and they’re astronauts. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.”
Flanking the display board, a small bookshelf stands at the ready to give further kid-friendly book recommendations on African American history. There are books about Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday, Muhammed Ali and Hank Aaron, and a pair of plush arm chairs to sink into while diving into history.
Stop by and see for yourself, for one last day, why the board and accompanying reading corner have been a hit among the library’s crowd.
“We had one young boy standing on the couch so he could see better, so that was very nice to see.”