November 14th, 2016

Harry Potter

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I grew up with Harry Potter. I was enduring adolescence with the reassurance that at least there would always be a Harry Potter book (or movie) to look forward to. When Harry Potter was going through his adolescent angst, I was right there with him. I can’t say I really understood what it was like defeating a Dark Lord, but I’d like to think SATs and college applications were equally draining. And then it was over. I’m sure everyone remembers–or knows someone–who went through the “post-Potter depression” that occurred after the last book.

But my generation isn’t the only one who grew up with Harry Potter. I see young kids picking up the first book for the first time, older couples grabbing the audiobook for a road trip– people are still growing up with the Boy Who Lived, and it’s as popular as ever.

Some fans are annoyed that JK Rowling is still writing about Harry Potter and didn’t like the Cursed Child script that came out last summer. These fans want the series to be crystallized in memory as being just the seven books. But I embrace it. How could I not be thrilled to be once again immersed in the Harry Potter universe? I know it will never be like the original seven books, but I look forward to the new movies and the spin-offs.

To celebrate the film release of “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them,” based on JK Rowling’s book of the same title, CCPL is hosting events in November! On Wednesday, November 16th, the Elkton Central Library is hosting two off-site events. Dr. Bernard McKenna, a University of Delaware professor, will give a talk on “Spellcasting in Harry Potter” at 6 pm. After the talk, there will be a Harry Potter Trivia game. Both events will take place at Minihane’s in downtown Elkton.

 

For the teen crowd, come to Potter-Con! Make a wand, play quidditch, have some butterbeer. Costumes are definitely encouraged. Potter-Con will take place at Elkton Central Library on Nov. 17th, 4-6pm, and at Chesapeake City Branch Library on Nov. 29th, 4-6pm.

If you can’t make it to any of the events, stop by your nearest CCPL branch and pick up a Harry Potter DVD, book, or audiobook to remind yourself of why it’s one of the bestselling series of all time.


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September 6th, 2016

Prohibition

ProhibitionOver 80 years after Prohibition ended it’s hard for us to imagine a world where bootleggers (the illegal production and sale of liquor) and speakeasies (illegal drinking spots) became a part of the ever-more inventive ways to obtain and consume alcohol. Still, Cecil County has its share of thrilling stories of moonshine and moonlit raids.

In the 1820s and ‘30s, the temperance movement attempted to get Americans to cut back (be temperate) with alcohol consumption. As the movement continued, the emphasis had shifted from moderation of alcohol to calling for outright government bans on all alcohol being made, transported, sold or consumed. At first, separate states started passing prohibition laws and Maine was the first state to pass one in 1846 and a number of other states had followed suit by the time the Civil War began in 1861.

In Cecil County, prohibition laws were on the books years before Congress started the process of enacting the 18th Amendment. The first arrest under the prohibition laws in Cecil County happened on September 1, 1903 when an Alfred Bender of Port Deposit was arrested for selling beer and whiskey.

In 1917, after the US entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary wartime ration prohibition in order to save grain for producing food. That same year, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, for state ratification. The amendment received the support of the necessary three-quarters of US states in just 11 months.

The three Delmarva state legislatures were early adopters. Virginia was the second state to ratify, followed by Maryland coming in sixth and Delaware being the ninth. The amendment was ratified on January 29, 1919 and the 18th Amendment went into effect a year later. In October 1919, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act, which provided guidelines for the enforcement of Prohibition. This is commonly called the Volstead Act, after Representative Andrew Volstead who championed it.

Displaying Eastern Shore independence, many coastal residents more or less ignored the new law. State’s Attorney Henry L. Constable stated that the prohibition situation in Cecil County was “worse than the average citizen dreamed of,” and he estimated there were, “600 rumrunners and bootleggers in the county,” in 1927. Cecil County’s Sheriff Logan in 1927 said, “The motto of this office is, ‘Let no moonshine on Cecil’s plains,” adding, “Even in the eight district where there ain’t no Ten Commandments.” (The Eight District was the general area of Conowingo and the Conowingo Dam project.)

During 1927, a number of large raids were made in Cecil County and among the largest of these was in the woods belonging to the Whitaker Iron Company at Principio Furnace. A total of six raids were made in Whitaker Woods with a still found in each raid, netting a total of 10,000 gallons of mash!

With the country mired in the Great Depression by 1932, creating jobs and revenue by legalizing the liquor industry was very appealing. FDR ran for president that year on a platform calling for Prohibition’s repeal and after his victory the 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealing Prohibition went into effect in 1933.

Want to know more? Join us for Pass the Rum: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition on Tuesday, September 13 at the Chesapeake City Branch Library. Call (410) 996-1134 to guarantee your spot.


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