The Library of Congress is holding several virtual events throughout February to share discoveries and stories significant to the history and conversations around Black History Month. For visitors on site, the exhibition “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words” remains on view.
Finding Pictures: African Americans in the Military
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 12 p.m. This orientation session will include a brief introduction to images in the collections that relate to the history of African American participation in the U.S. military from the Civil War through the Vietnam War, with a focus on photography. The presentation will cover library search tools, online resources, and how to prepare for a future visit to the reading room. (Orientation will not be recorded.) For more information and to register for this event, click here.
Repatriates, Recaptives and African Abolitionists: The Untold Story of Liberia’s Founding
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 12 p.m. This webinar will be led by C. Patrick Burrowes, Ph.D. He was born in Liberia and is called “the people’s professor” because of his willingness to share his deep knowledge of Liberian history freely with others. Before returning to Liberia in 2017, he was a tenured professor of communications and humanities at Penn State University. In August 2021, he uncovered a handwritten document missing since 1835 that sheds light on the 1821 purchase of land that became Monrovia, the capital city for the only United States colony in Africa. Burrowes says this is the most significant discovery of his career. This webinar does not require registration. To join the webinar, click here.
Made at the Library: Bruce Ragsdale “Washington at the Plow”
Tuesday, Feb. 22, 12 p.m. Join us for a conversation between Kluge Staff Fellow and historian Julie Miller and historian Bruce Ragsdale, whose recent book “Washington at the Plow: The Founding Farmer and the Question of Slavery” (Harvard University Press 2021) explores the relationship between farming and enslaved peoples, drawing on the George Washington Papers held by the Manuscript Division. Washington’s passionate interest in farming was central to his identity, and his commitment to the “New Agriculture” of the 18th century shaped the lives of the hundreds of people held in bondage at Mount Vernon. To register for this event, click here.
The Maritime Underground Railroad
Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 7:00-7:45 p.m. A Black History Month panel discussing how enslaved people achieved their freedom and what the journey by sea looked like for many African Americans. The panelists include, Timothy D. Walker, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, who edited the book, “Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad,” as well as contributors to the book, Cheryl Janifer LaRoche, a lecturer in the Department of American Studies for the University of Maryland College Park, and Cassandra Newby-Alexander, dean at the College of Liberal Arts at Norfolk State University. This event will be moderated by former Kluge Center Director John Haskell. This event will premiere on the Library’s YouTube channel. The presentation will be available for viewing afterward at Library’s YouTube channel and in the Library’s Event Videos Collection.
Celebrate Black History Month with a New Transcription Campaign On Feb. 1, By the People and the Manuscript Division launched a new virtual volunteering campaign in celebration of Black History Month titled Brothers in Arms: The Gladstone Afro-American Military Collection. The Gladstone collection documents African Americans in military service and spans the years 1773 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from the Civil War period, 1861-1865. Volunteers will be able to transcribe more than 3,000 pages of correspondence, pay vouchers, orders, muster rolls, enlistment and discharge papers, receipts, contracts, affidavits, tax records, miscellaneous military documents, and printed matter related to Black military service and experience. Participants will learn about Juba Freeman who fought with the Continental Army in the American Revolution, Lt. Edward L. Goodlett who marched on the battlefields of Europe during World War I, and the names of many others who experienced American wars at home and abroad. Transcribing these materials will make them more accessible and searchable for researchers, genealogists, educators, students, those who use assistive technologies, and history enthusiasts everywhere. To volunteer as a transcriber, please visit crowd.loc.gov for more information.
Explore “Rosa Parks – In Her Own Words”
“Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words” is the first exhibition of the Rosa Parks Collection at the Library, which holds the civil rights icon’s personal writings, photographs, records and memorabilia. Visitors are immersed in Parks’ handwritten notes, reflections and images from throughout her life. The ongoing exhibition is available online at loc.gov/rosaparks. The gallery also remains open to visitors on site on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors must reserve advance timed entry passes for admittance. The exhibit will close May 31.
About the Library
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.