On the heels of the inauguration of the country’s first black president, Barack Obama, the nation will honor the achievements of African-Americans during a month-long celebration in February.
In recognition of the month, Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., Majority Whip of the House, will deliver the Library’s 2009 African American History Month keynote address at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 4
, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.
The 2009 theme for the month is Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas. This year’s celebration coincides with the centenary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Library holds more than 5 million records of the NAACP, which is the largest single collection ever acquired by the institution.
Clyburn has represented the sixth congressional district of South Carolina since 1993. House Majority Whip in the 110th and 111th Congresses, Clyburn is the third ranking Democrat in the House behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
Born in Sumter, S.C., Clyburn graduated from South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University) with a bachelor’s degree in history. He joined the staff of Gov. John West of South Carolina in 1971 and became the state’s Human Affairs Commissioner in 1971. He resigned from that position to devote his full attention to pursuing his lifelong dream of serving in the U.S. Congress, where no black South Carolinian had served since 1897.
Clyburn began his steady climb on Capitol Hill in 1993, winning election as co-president of the freshman class. Six years later, he was unanimously elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and to a seat on the coveted Appropriations Committee. In 2002, he was elected in a three-way race to serve as vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and in January 2006, his peers unanimously elevated him to chair of the Caucus and Majority Whip for the 110th Congress.
In addition to Clyburn’s keynote address, the Library has planned several other activities on Capitol Hill in observance of African American History Month:
12 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 10, Madison Building, Montpelier Room, LM 619
Panel Discussion: “Remembering Our Father: The Story of Moses Carl Holman,” moderated by Ralph Eubanks, director of the Library’s Publishing Office.
Kinshasha Holman-Conwill, Kwasi Holman and Kwame Holman will share remembrances of their father’s quest for black citizenship as an American civil rights leader and as the president of the National Urban Coalition.
12 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18, Madison Building, Montpelier Room, LM 619
Author Talk with Lawrence J. Hanks, moderated by Sibyl Moses, reference specialist, Humanities and Social Sciences Division.
Lawrence J. Hanks (Ph. D., Harvard University, 1984) is an associate professor of political science at Indiana University, Bloomington. His presentation will focus on the historical quest for voting rights.
12 p.m., Monday, Feb. 23, Madison Building, Mumford Room, LM 649
Poetry Reading with E. Ethelbert Miller, moderated by Lucy Suddreth, Office of the Librarian.
E. Ethelbert Miller is a literary activist, board chairman of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), board member of The Writer's Center and editor of Poet Lore magazine. Since 1974, he has been the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. Library staff members Jane Caulton, National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and Eric Smith, Library Services, will join in reading selected pieces.
4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26, Jefferson Building, LJ 119, 10 First St., SE
Author Talk with Maurice Jackson, “Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism.”
Anthony Benezet, who is recognized as the founder of the antislavery movement in America in the mid-1700s, will be the topic of a lecture by Maurice Jackson, an assistant professor in the history department at Georgetown University. Jackson will discuss and sign his recently published book.
The African American History Month celebration is one of the ways in which the Library heightens awareness and appreciation of the contributions of African Americans to the nation. During the month, the Library will feature a display in the lobby of the Madison Building, focusing on outstanding African-Americans. In addition, the Library has partnered with the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in launching an online resource page at www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov
Acknowledged as a leading resource for the study of the African-American experience, the Library is home to a comprehensive collection that chronicles the 20th-century civil rights movement. In addition to the NAACP collection, it also holds the original papers of such black notables as Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Nannie Helen Burroughs.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov
and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at myLOC.gov