Mountain Road Library Celebrates Black History Month

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By Sharon Mager

Black History Month is celebrated in February, and Mountain Road Library — located at 4730 Mountain Road in Pasadena — will commemorate the occasion with a series of documentaries and a presentation about the Harriet Tubman Museum & Educational Center in Cambridge, Maryland.

The documentaries will be shown each Tuesday in February at 10:00am. Coffee and snacks will be available.

Librarian Veronica Lathroum said she chose the videos with the purpose of focusing on different elements of the struggles many black people have endured.

“They reflect a variety of experiences and different perspectives,” Lathroum said. “I think it’s an important topic for us to feature and discuss, especially in our current climate in this country in the last few years.”

The following documentaries will be shown.

“Anita: Speaking Truth to Power”
February 5

Step back in time to 1991 and learn the story of Anita Hill, an attorney and a university professor who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

“Whose Streets: An Unflinching Look at the Ferguson Uprising"
February 12

This 2017 Sundance Film Festival nominated documentary analyzes the Ferguson uprising from the perspective of those directly involved. Please note that while all of the Black History Month documentaries are intended for adults, this one is rated R.

“Ken Burns: The Central Park Five”
February 19

Experience the sad retelling of five black and Latino teens from Harlem who were wrongfully accused of raping a white woman in Central Park in 1989. The teens spent between six and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

“Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song”
February 26

This is the story of “Strange Fruit,” a famous Billie Holiday song addressing the horrors of lynching in America.

Remembering Harriet Tubman

On February 8, the library will welcome Dana Paterra, park manager for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Museum and Educational Center.

The museum will celebrate its second anniversary in March. Paterra will share how the museum came to be, what the staff has accomplished over the past two years, and future plans.

Paterra explained that the Underground Railroad was a network of people — white and black, men and women — who assisted Tubman and other freedom seekers trying to provide resources to slaves traveling north.

“Many people think [Tubman] rescued people from all over the south when in reality she came back to Maryland to rescue family and friends,” Paterra said.

The museum has numerous interactive exhibits. “Visitors can become immersed in Tubman’s world, where she spent her formative years, and learn about the faith, family and community that shaped her to be the ‘conductor’ we all know,” she said.

In addition to the documentaries and presentation, there will be a display of books relating to black history, and Lathroum said that librarians are always happy to offer book recommendations.

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