Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Women’s Suffrage Victory—165 Years Later

Women working at suffrage headquarters, 1913
BPL Digital Collections

The women’s suffrage movement was founded in the mid-19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In recognition of Women’s Equality Day, the event is observed annually on August 26. Some of the early organizers included Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. As early as 1837, Susan B. Anthony, a young teacher dissatisfied with her wages, asked for equal pay for women teachers; Sojourner Truth in 1851, defended women’s rights and “Negroes rights” at a convention in Akron, Ohio. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony campaigned to encourage women to register to vote using the 14th Amendment as justification.

On January 10, 1878, The “Anthony Amendment” was introduced for the first time in the United States Congress. If approved it would extend the right to vote to women. The amendment stated “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any States on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power by appropriate legislations to enforce the provisions of this action.”

After several failed attempts, the Amendment was finally voted on by the U. S. Senate for the first time on January 25, 1887, and also for the last time in 25 years. The hard fought battle was not won entirely state by state, so the women had to resort to using radical tactics for a federal suffrage amendment to be added to the Constitution: picketing the White House, staging large suffrage marches, demonstrations and going to jail.

Their actions worked and on June 4, 1919, the United States Senate endorsed the Amendment and sent it to the states. Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan were the first states to pass the law; (sadly), Georgia and Alabama rushed to pass rejections. When 35 of the 36 states had ratified the amendment, the battle came to Tennessee and the rest is history.

Votes for women a success, the map proves it, 1914
BPL Digital Collections
The long battle for the vote for women was won when a young legislator, 24 year old Harry Burn from Tennessee voted yes for the amendment. On August 18, 1920, this single vote gave the Anthony Amendment the thirty-sixth and deciding state needed for ratification. Up until this time Burns had often voted with the anti-suffrage forces. His mother had urged him to vote for the amendment and for suffrage. On August 26, 1920, the U. S. Secretary of State signed the Anthony Amendment into law giving women the right to vote in the fall elections and the Presidential elections.
1923: Equal Rights Amendment introduced into the U.S. Congress, proposed by the National Woman’s Party.

Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship, the right to vote was not given to all native born Americans. In 1869, Congress passed the 15th Amendment giving African American men the right to vote. Moving ahead to 1940, only 3 percent of eligible African Americans in the South were registered to vote. Jim Crow laws that required prospective voters to pass literacy tests and pay “poll taxes” served as deterrents to African Americans to vote, because they could not read and were not able to pay the unfair ‘taxes’ that had been imposed on them.

It took the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing the Voting Rights Act into law, to make voting a reality for everyone. My mother, a teacher, could not vote in Wilcox County. When white workers from the North came to assist African Americans in their efforts to vote, she allowed them to live in her home and often bailed others from jail that had been locked up. In 2014, minorities still face significant obstacles in registering to vote and casting ballots.

Women’s rights have come a long way. However, the fight for equality still continues. The Equal Pay Act put into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 helped ensure equal earnings for both men and women by illegalizing discrimination based on sex. The gap has lessened, but unfortunately, has not disappeared entirely. Women are still earning, on average about 80 cents to the dollar, sometimes even less in the case of minorities.

A local Alabama native Lilly Ledbetter, fought for 10 years to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Ledbetter won a jury verdict of more than 3 million dollars after having filed a gender pay discrimination suit in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the lower court’s ruling. On January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the first new law of his administration: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Ledbetter will never receive restitution from Goodyear, but she said, “I’ll be happy if the last thing they say about me after I die, is that I made a difference.”

As we recognize the strides women have made in all walks of life--from business to education to politics, we realize our work is not done. Women, and their families, still face tremendous economic pressures.

“I renew my pledge to keep fighting for laws that help America’s women. Because when women succeed, America succeeds: An Economic Agenda for women and Families, focusing on the issues that hard working American women struggle with every day: fair pay, paid maternity leave, and affordable Day care.” — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Related Readings:
History of Woman Suffrage

Failure is Impossible 

The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: Selections from the Classic Work of Stanton, Anthony, Gage, and Harper

Slavery and the Woman Question

Women of Uncommon Valor: Life Stories of Women from Birmingham, Alabama

Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Claudette W. Camp
Avondale Library

Bank on Birmingham Financial Program Scheduled for North Birmingham Library, September 23

A sound understanding of banks and banking plays an important part in assuring one’s personal financial health. Acquiring such an understanding, however, takes some time and effort. In the world of banking, there exist different kinds of institutions offering a variety of accounts, products, and investment opportunities. But it is not a matter of one size fits all; which banking services are suitable for you depends upon your particular circumstances, needs, and goals. Therefore, in order to make good decisions about banks, you should try to get good, solid information about what is available so that you can compare their offerings with your priorities.

Bank on Birmingham (BoB) is a local non-profit organization that was created to provide information to the public about banking products and services. The membership of Bank on Birmingham, which consists of both local financial institutions and community organizations, is particularly interested in reaching low and moderate income consumers who have been underserved by the banking industry. Through advocacy, education, and outreach, BoB strives to make better banking awareness a catalyst for increasing the financial self-sufficiency of individuals and families in the Birmingham area.

As part of its educational initiative, Bank on Birmingham is holding a series of Snack and Learn events at several locations of the Birmingham Public Library during September and October of 2014. Two similar events will be held at Community Education South. These events are scheduled to last about an hour and BoB representatives will be available to share their knowledge on a variety of topics including banking, credit, budgeting, identity theft, home ownership, and small business finance. Light refreshments will be served. Both adults and older youth are encouraged to attend.

The Snack and Learn events are free but registration is required. You can register online on the Events Calendar page on Bank on Birmingham’s website or at the library location where the event is being held:

North Birmingham Library
Tuesday September 23, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Community Education South
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Central Library 
Monday October 6, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Avondale Library
Tuesday October 14, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Community Education South
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Sixty Works to be Featured in the Watercolor Society of Alabama’s Annual Showcase at the Central Library, September 21–October 31

Great Blue & Company, Charlotte McDavid
Nearly 60 aqua media works from across the state will be on display September 21–October 31 during the 2014 Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase at the Central Library. The free exhibit will be in the library’s Fourth Floor Gallery.

An award ceremony and opening reception will be held on Sunday, September 21, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., in the gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

E. Gordon West of San Antonio, Texas, is the selection juror. West has received numerous awards in national exhibitions and has works in the permanent collections of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas A&M University, and the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and studied at the Chicago Art Institute.

Steve Rogers of Ormond Beach, Florida is the awards juror. His artwork has won international awards. He was the Purchase Award Winner of the 2006 National Watercolor Society “Best of Show.” His paintings have won four awards in the American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibitions. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill.
The Ancient Splendor, Chenghao Li

Rogers will host a watercolor workshop at Forstall Art Center in Homewood, September 18-20. The daily sessions will be 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. There is a workshop fee.

To register for the workshop or for more information on the class, contact Charlotte McDavid, chair of the Watercolor Society of Alabama, at charsart@bellsouth.net.

For information about the library exhibit, call 226-3670 or send emails to hm@bham.lib.al.us.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory
Laurie Halse Anderson

After years spent on the road outrunning bad memories, blue-haired teen Hayley Kincaid and her troubled, army veteran father return to their hometown in New York. Having been home-schooled for the last five years, Hayley cautiously re-enters the world of traditional learning, a repulsive realm populated by high school "zombies" (the in-crowd) and a few rebellious "freaks" like herself. Although she impresses few at first with her snarky attitude, she slowly becomes accustomed to her new life, and even gathers a handful of friends (other "freaks" like herself). In the back of her mind, though, is a fear that no teen should have to worry about: the constant, sickening fear for her father's declining mental health. While the prose lacks the gritty, lyrical beauty found in Anderson's previous novel, Wintergirls, this newest offering succeeds in painting a touching, realistic, and perilous portrait of a new era of social issues. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.

Liz Winn
Microforms/Government Documents
Central Library

Renasant Offers Entrepreneurial Success Series

Renasant Bank is reaching out to help small businesses succeed with a free six-part entrepreneurial success series. Series topics include Financial Management, Networking and Relationship Building, Social Media, Tax Information, Business Plan Components, Human Resources and Access to Capital.

Renasant staff and local experts are leading these valuable learning sessions throughout the Birmingham and Shelby County communities. The event is co-sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library System and Trudy Phillips Consulting. Complementary refreshments will be served.

Tracey Morant Adams, Senior Vice President Small Business and Community Development Director said of the series, ‘This free series is part of Renasant Bank’s continuing commitment to further the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs in our area. We are pleased to provide valuable tools and insight to help our local community businesses thrive and flourish.”

To register for any of the sessions, please visit: http://movetogreaterservice.com/smallbiz


How Do I Make Money with My Website
Central Library
September 18, 2014
9:30-11:00 a.m.

Financing, Lending Sources and Credit
Pratt City Library
October 23, 2014
9:30-11:00 a.m.

Self-employed & Small Business Tax Workshop
Woodlawn Public Library
November 20, 2014
9:30-11:00 a.m.

One-Page Business Plan with Financial Projections
Alabaster City Hall
January 15, 2015
9:30-11:00 a.m.

Contract Employees vs. Full Time Employees
Avondale Public Library
February 12, 2015
9:30-11:00 a.m.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Civil Rights Authors Chervis Isom and Nick Patterson Head Panel Discussion on Race and Reconciliation at Central Library, September 12

The Birmingham Public Library will present a panel discussion on race, redemption, and reconciliation on Friday, September 12, at noon in the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium as part of the city's Empowerment Week. The event is free and open to the public.

The speakers will be Chervis Isom and Nick Patterson, authors of recent books that examine Birmingham during the civil rights movement. Though one author is white and the other is black, the men's stories carry similar messages of change and moving forward.

Isom once held racist views as a child growing up in a segregated Birmingham in the 1950s and 1960s. But his opinions eventually changed when a married couple on his newspaper route taught him that it's wrong to judge people based on skin color. He shares his coming-of-age story in The Newspaper Boy.

Patterson had always felt that stories of the movement's foot soldiers were ones of struggle and perseverance that needed to live on for generations to share. Through research and extensive interviews, he delved deep into the past to tell their stories in his book Birmingham Foot Soldiers: Voices from the Civil Rights Movement.

Come learn about the city's past and how it prepares people for the future. Isom, an attorney, and Patterson, a writer, will sell and sign copies of their books after the discussion and Q&A session.

Birmingham's Empowerment Week, set for September 11-15, will include a day of service, speakers and festivals.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Let's Talk Nails

Getting a manicure or pedicure was once only thought to be in the world of celebrities. But in the 21st century women and men consider getting a pedicure or manicure as a part of their biweekly pampering regimen. The nail industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and new techniques blossoming by the minute. A new reality show on Oxygen called Nailed It will be premiering this fall. The industry has introduced an array of colors, shapes, and techniques to choose from such has Acrylic, Gel, Shellac, French tips, and 3D Nail art. Below are some resources to assist in selecting the best method and style for you.

Cool Nail Art 

DIY Nail Art: 75 Creative Nail Art Designs

Totally Cool Nails: 50 Fun and Easy Nail Art Designs for Kids

Nails, Nails, Nails!: 25 Creative DIY Nail Art Projects

Polish You Pretty 

Pro Nail Care: Salon Secrets of the Professionals




Nail Gallery Art on Pinterest 

Nail Designs on Pinterest 

Yolanda Hardy
Smithfield Library

Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking
Susan Cain

Garrison Keillor once did a humor piece called “Shy Rights: Why Not Pretty Soon?” If you think that’s funny, you’ll probably like this book. If you just happen to know someone who’s introverted and want to know how they work, you’ll probably like this, too. (By the way, shy isn’t necessarily the same thing as introverted. That’s covered here.)

Do you prefer one-on-one talking to group activities? Do you prefer solitude over parties? Do you tend to avoid risk? Dislike conflict? Work better on your own? Feel wiped out after being around people all day? If so, you may be introverted. There’s a test in the book which can help you to be reasonably sure. Introverts make up at least 1/3 of all Americans, and may constitute much more. And yet American culture is an extroverted one, with extroversion often held up as an ideal. How can introverts, who sometimes feel left out, learn to thrive? How can extroverts learn to embrace them? Author Susan Cain calmly and persuasively guides us through these and other topics, and suggests that a revolution (albeit a quiet one) may be in order. Any healthy society, she maintains, will have a balance between extroverts and introverts. What she has to say is provocative, revelatory and will come as a relief to the introverts (and, to a lesser degree, extroverts) among us. She’s summarized a very large amount of research, research that’s been done because the existence of introversion/extroversion is about the only thing personality psychologists agree on. Even animal societies, including fish and insects, show introvert and extrovert traits. Evolutionists have come round to the idea that these societies have to have both types in order to survive. At base, introversion and extroversion are biological far more than something we choose. If Cain occasionally missteps (shyness is not “inherently painful”—now there’s evidence of the dread extroversion bias she keeps warning us about if there ever was one) she is usually on target, demonstrating compassion, common sense, and good judgment.

An introvert myself, I was struck again and again at how the researchers and Cain seem to know me without ever having met me. Me, and seemingly all the introverts I know. The sheer bulk and range of the research accounts for some of this, as does the consistency of traits among most introverts. If you’re an extrovert, you’ll probably see yourself in here, too.

As important as anything here is the promise Cain holds out of a more balanced, stronger and wise society, one that embraces the inner- as well as outer-directed, one that is less neurotic than ours because introverts will be able to accept themselves instead of try to prove they’re someone they’re not. We’re talking about a radical change here, even a revolution, and some significant changes in this direction have already occurred. In the end we’ll be a lot healthier. Sound too difficult? We did it with left-handedness, and gay rights has already won the historical moment. So this isn’t a pipe dream. It’s a self-help book for America as well as for individuals. Shy rights, indeed. Why not now?

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Free Workshop on How to Make Money with Your Business Website Set for September 18 at the Birmingham Public Library

A free workshop to help businesses boost sales through their website will be held on Thursday, September 18, at the Central Library. The session will be from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. It’s free but registration is required at http://movetogreaterservice.com/smallbiz.

“A lot of small businesses don’t have the money to do advertising and ad campaigns, so (this workshop) will really be for how to use content marketing and social media to attract the right kind of customers they are looking for,’’ said Andrea Walker, a Birmingham digital strategist and start-up marketing expert scheduled to teach the class. “At the end of the day, I want people to walk away learning something they haven’t learned before and knowing they can do it.’’

Her session will address several topics, including the importance of content marketing, which is how to create and share free content on the web with the goal of attracting potential customers and turning them into repeat customers. The workshop is part of an entrepreneurial series presented by Renasant Bank, Trudy Phillips Consulting Service, and the Birmingham Public Library. Sessions on financial management, business plans, and more are planned now through February 2015 at Birmingham libraries and Alabaster City Hall. All classes will be held from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

"This free series is part of Renasant Bank’s continuing commitment to further the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs in our area,'' said Tracey Morant Adams, Renasant Bank’s senior vice president small business and community development director. "We are pleased to provide valuable tools and insight to help our local community businesses thrive and flourish.”

Dates and locations for sessions include:

How Do I Make Money with My Website
September 18, 2014
Central Library

Financing, Lending Sources and Credit
October 23, 2014
Pratt City Library

Self-Employed and Small Business Tax Workshop
November 20-2014
Woodlawn Library 

One-Page Business Plan with Financial Projections
January 15, 2015
Alabaster City Hall

Contract Employees vs. Full-Time Employees
February 12, 2015
Avondale Public Library

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Chariot Races, Gladiators, and Film

Visages of gladiatorial battles and chariot races often fill the minds of modern audiences with wonder. Ancient Roman sport and spectacle have long-since been an inspiration for popular culture- from books and plays to television and moves.

Chariot races were quite popular in much of the ancient Mediterranean for over a millennium. Roman chariot races were much like modern NASCAR/stock car driving, with both standard regulations and variances in tracks, as well as excitement at both wins and crashes! Perhaps best known for its thrilling chariot race, Ben-Hur (1959) is considered by many to be one of the best films of all time. This historical epic starring Charlton Heston follows a prince who was sent into slavery, and later seeks revenge on the race track. The film is actually based upon a book written in 1880 by Lew Wallace of the same name. Perhaps even more surprising, the 1959 film is neither the first nor the last screen adaptation, with a 1925 silent film and a remake currently in progress, due out in 2016!

Gladiatorial combat reached its popularity in late 1st CE century Rome. While its origins remain murky, they were noted by Roman historian Livy as existing by the 2nd century BCE and became an essential feature of political and social life, continuing through the 6th century. Gladiators were typically- although not solely - slaves, often from military backgrounds. They were most frequently male, although there is evidence of female gladiators, especially during Nero's reign. We do know that  female gladiators were formally banned in 200 CE.

Gladiator (2000) directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe is one of the most appreciated depictions of recent years. In the film the fictional general Maximus, after being betrayed by the emperor Commodus and swept up into slavery, must fight as a gladiator to seek vengeance for himself and his family. The film is also known for its soundtrack and received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Gladiator : the making of the Ridley Scott epic has more about the making of the film. Though the film plays a bit loose with the history, it is an entertaining film for 21st century audiences.

Perhaps slightly more realistic, and loosely based on historical events, are the many iterations of Spartacus. Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator and was one of the slave leaders in the Third Servile War in the first century BCE. Books, novels, movies and television shows have continuously elaborated on the tale of which historians know relatively few details. Howard Fast's 1952 book Spartacus served as the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick's 1960 film starring Kirk Douglas. More recently, the television show Spartacus: Blood and Sand ran for three seasons to a relatively positive reception.

The Colosseum in Rome is the best known location of ancient gladiatorial battles which can still be visited. Started in 70CE and completed in 80, the Colosseum could seat 50,000-80,000 and was the first permanent amphitheater in Rome. Repaired multiple times in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries, the ruins are adjacent to the Forum Romanum, both of which are popular tourist destinations.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Big Gifts Come in Small Packages

Tess Barton and Mrs. Eve

“Give” as defined by the World Book Dictionary is “to provide something to another, usually without receiving anything in return.” Recently one of Avondale’s youngest patrons demonstrated this very definition in an extraordinary way.

What is your name?
“Tess Barton”

How old are you? 

How long have you been a Girl Scout? 
“About 2 years now.”

I understand that you have a very special reason for visiting the library today; will you please tell me about it?
“I need to give Mrs. Eve $5.00 that I earned in Girl Scouts so she can use it to help in the library; to help teach the babies how to read.”

When you were younger, did you use to come to Mrs. Eve’s Tot Time program?

What was your favorite thing about Tot Time?
“Being with Mrs. Eve”

Thank you Tess for showing us all that true giving comes from the heart, and you are never too young to start.

Carla Perkins
Avondale Library