January 30, 1996 Knowledge Cards Highlight 'Great African Americans', 'Women Who Dare' and 'Writers' in New Series

Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

You've heard of playing cards, baseball cards, even Beatle cards. Now there are Knowledge Cards, celebrating eminent people, available in four subject categories: Great African Americans, Women Who Dare, American Writers, and Women Writers.

The Library of Congress and Pomegranate Publications are introducing these cards as part of a cooperative agreement to make the Library's collections more widely available in a variety of educational formats.

Knowledge Cards are arranged in decks of 48 cards. Each card features a portrait photograph or illustration on one side, and a brief biography, highlighting that person's achievements, on the other side. The historical photos, illustrations and biographical information used for the cards were drawn from the Library's collections.

Great African Americans: These 48 African Americans, in the face of difficult obstacles, showed courage, determination, and indomitable spirit to achieve their goals. Their accomplishments cover a wide range of areas: from literature, education, civil rights, abolition, science and aviation, to the arts and the law. Some personalities are famous, such as Bill Cosby, Martin Luther King Jr. and Duke Ellington. Not everyone, however, will be as familiar with the first African American aviator and barnstormer, Bessie Coleman (1892-1926), or civil rights activist and journalist Daisy Bates.

Women Who Dare: These 48 women were crusaders and trail blazers. Their work helped to change the course of history in medicine, science, human rights, sports, and other areas of human endeavor. Among them are Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994), who overcame polio to become the first female triple Olympic Gold medalist in track and field, and Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919), who became a medical doctor when few women held professions. These women include abolitionists and suffragists who paved the way for later Women Who Dare, such as Frances Perkins, the first female to become a U.S. Cabinet member, and Edith Spurlock Sampson, the first black female judge.

American Authors: The 32 men and 16 women celebrated in American Authors were each chosen for their individual bodies of work. Their books have become "American classics," from Mark Twain's Huck Finn to Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Their literature defined the period, interpreted the culture, and, in some cases, were an impetus to social conscience and change. For instance, the works of Harriett Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) helped to catapult the anti-slavery movement; and the novels of Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) exposed and attacked bigotry, racism and fascism.

Women Writers: Forty-eight of the world greatest and most influential literary authors, from the 18th century to contemporary times, are profiled. They worked in all literary forms -- poetry, drama, novels, journalism, and autobiography, among others. Their writings often told personal stories to illuminate a broader social-cultural condition, as in Lorraine Hansberry's plays, which describe ghetto life; or Edith Wharton's novels, which exposed 19th century America's stultifying society mores.

Knowledge Cards are an educational tool, whose colorful introductions to authors and their works are likely to inspire follow-up reading.

Knowledge Books can be purchased for $9.95 per deck from the Library's Sales Shop or by calling (202) 707-0204.


PR 96-015
ISSN 0731-3527