January 5th, 2016

Gateway to Freedom

UndergroundRRI enjoy learning about American history and have recently been reading about the Underground railroad, going beyond traditional Harriet Tubman tales.

In “Gateway to Freedom,” Pulitzer-Prize winning scholar, Eric Foner delves into American slavery and freedom, focusing on New York City, where slavery continued even after it was abolished. New York also had the largest free black community, where slave-catchers trolled, often selling free children into slavery in the south. Abolitionists and free blacks formed the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835 and by the 1840s was a thriving network which became known as the underground railroad.
Using the formerly secret records of Sydney Howard Gay, Foner develops an inspiring chronicle, introducing characters formerly unknown to the history books. This 2015 book is also available for immediate download via Hoopla, which provides free movies, music, television, and audiobooks.
Looking for more Underground Railroad stories? Check out the DVD “Underground Railroad: the William Still Story,” a compelling tale of William Still, one of the most unheralded individuals of the Underground Railroad. There’s also a book of journals published by William Still called “The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts.”
If you’re interested in local history about the Underground Railroad, visit the Chesapeake City Branch, Monday, January 11 at 6:30 PM when Historian Milt Diggins explores the Underground Railroad through the Baltimore-Wilmington-Philadelphia corridor and how the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal played an important part of this history. Or he will present Regional Tales of the Underground Railroad at the Perryville Branch, Wednesday, February 17 at 7 PM.
What do you know about the Underground Railroad?


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December 7th, 2015

See The Nutcracker at CCPL

nutcrackerEvery December, when the holiday music begins, I look forward to hearing the strains of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” My grandmother took me to the ballet when I was seven and I fell in love immediately. The lively music, the fabulous costumes and the magic of the growing Christmas tree never lose their enchantment.

I was curious about who wrote “The Nutcracker” and learned that the original was written in 1816 as a scary story for adults. It was re-written into a children’s story by French author, Alexander Dumas and  subsequently commissioned for a ballet by the Russian Imperial Ballet. At this time Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky was asked to compose the music and Lev Ivanov designed the choreography. The first “Nutcracker” was performed in St. Petersburg, Russia in December 1892, more than 120 years ago!

I now enjoy this holiday tradition with my children – and so can you! This Saturday, December 12 the Perryville and Elkton Central Libraries are hosting a free program called “Discover Dance: The Nutcracker.”  Get an up close view of The Nutcracker when dancers from Cecil Dancenter perform excerpts. Learn the story behind the ballet, how dancers prepare, and even learn some dance steps!

We hope you’ll join us. What’s your favorite part of the Nutcracker?


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