July 11th, 2012

Journey Stories is here!

When you hear the word “journey” what comes to mind? A road trip, moving to a new place, or overcoming an obstacle? This summer there will be numerous opportunities to explore the theme of “journey stories” as Cecil County Public Library is proud to partner with the Cecil County Arts Council and the Cecil County Historical Society to welcome the Smithsonian exhibit, “Journey Stories.”

Bernard PurdieWe invite you to share in the musical journey story of Bernard Purdie, who grew up in Elkton and went on to international success as the world’s most recorded drummer. On the evening of Monday, July 16, Mr. Purdie will share what he learned as a boy of Cecil County and the development of his skills and career. Click here to sign up.

On Tuesday, July 17, journeys of a very different kind will be shared by three diverse panelists that cover interesting time periods of the 20th century.  Bishop Basil Losten will describe the migration of Ukrainian immigrants to the Chesapeake City area in the early part of the century, where they settled to help work on the C&D Canal. They brought traditions and religion from their homeland. Olga Stavrakis will share the harrowing tale of her family’s escape from wartorn Europe after years of drifting from country to country in search of peace. Her father, Dr. Peter Stavrakis was forced to work for the Nazis and later helped his family escape the persecution of Stalinist Russia. The Stavrakis family escaped to America with little in their possession except hope. Learn this family’s harrowing story and their eventual settlement in Cecil County. Elkton Commissioner Charles Givens will then share his experiences in the educational arena through the civil rights era. Click here to sign up.

C&D Canal Chesapeake City MDIf the journeys of this panel capture you, consider attending two in-depth discussions on these topics.  Olga Stavrakis will delve into the details of her family’s escape from Europe and the hardships they endured, detailing the fascinating series of events that led to their arrival in America. She will speak at the Cecilton Branch Library on Monday, July 16 at 2pm.  Bishop Losten will offer an in-depth discussion of the Ukrainian community of Chesapeake City at a talk at the Chesapeake City Branch Library on Tuesday, July 17 at 10:30 am.

These events are only the beginning of the wide-reaching discussion of Journey Stories programs that will be offered from now until October. We encourage you to attend and invite you to share your stories. Call 410-996-5600 ext. 481 for more information or to sign up for any of our Journey Stories programs.

Get a sneak peak of the wonderful programs and exhibits to come by clicking here to see a gallery of historical Cecil County photos. Many thanks to the Cecil County Historical Society for sharing these gems. What programs are you planning to attend?


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May 3rd, 2012

Journey Stories

Immigrant boy“How did you end up in Cecil County?”  It’s my favorite question to ask. Whether you’re a “from here” or a “come here,” there’s always a story to answer that question. My journey to Cecil County was many years in the making, having grown up a Navy-brat moving from Coast to Coast, I attended college in upstate New York and started my career in New York City. The Cecil County landscape reminds my husband of summers at his grandmother’s Long Island farm, before everything was developed and crowded, and so, for a reason as simple as that, we settled here.

American history is filled with tales of immigration and migration and rags to riches mobility. Americans have always been on the move. Early settlers on horseback searched for better farmland, religious freedom or gold. The industrial revolution spurred innovations in agriculture, manufacturing and transportation, which grew our nation. From steam engine trains to automobiles and airplanes, transportation is an integral part of our social and economic landscape.

This summer, Cecil County Public Library is delighted to partner with the Cecil County Arts Council and the Historical Society of Cecil County to bring you the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street exhibit “Journey Stories.” Cecil County is one of only five sites in Maryland to host this special program and there are events planned county-wide this summer and into the fall. Be on the look-out for a full calendar coming soon.

The Smithsonian exhibit will focus on themes of transportation and immigration on a national scale and library events will focus on local stories. Ukrainian immigrants settled in Chesapeake City to build the C&D Canal and the rivers were busy with barges of tobacco. Lovers flocked to Elkton during the heydays of the marriage business and World War II brought droves of soldiers and munitions workers to the county. A doctor arrived from Russia in the early 1950s with his family, and a local boy who integrated at Elkton High school went on to an internationally successful music career. These are the stories of Cecil County.

What is your Journey Story? Share by leaving a comment below!


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