Justice by DNA Evidence: One Maryland One Book is Back!

August 24th, 2018

What if everyone in the state of Maryland read the same book? That’s the idea behind One Maryland, One Book, an initiative started by Maryland Humanities. This year’s book is “Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA Evidence” by Tim Junkin. Set in Maryland, it is a true crime exploration of an issue that affects many individuals and families in the United States.

After the horrible 1984 death of young Dawn Hamilton in Baltimore County, law enforcement was pressed to find the killer. But the process was rushed, and flawed, and Kirk Bloodsworth was unfairly charged with murder, and given the death sentence.

Bloodsworth insisted upon his innocence and studied as much as about criminal justice as his prison library could offer. It was there he learned about the new science of DNA testing. His lawyer petitioned for its use, and Bloodsworth was proved innocent. His exoneration was the first of its kind. Since then, DNA evidence has set many more wrongfully imprisoned inmates free.

If you’re a true crime fan, and love podcasts or television series such as “Serial” or “Making a Murderer,” or you’re interested in regional history, you may be interested in “Bloodsworth.” Cecil County Public Library is hosting 8 discussions that you can join throughout September, including an online book discussion on Sunday, September 30th on the Facebook CCPL Readers Group. You can access the group through the main CCPL Facebook page.

For more local history, check out “Cold Cases of Cecil County” at the Perryville Branch on Tuesday, September 18th at 7 PM. Local historian Mike Dixon will talk about local homicide cases, their effects on the surrounding community, and if—and how—they were solved by law enforcement.

For book discussion dates or to sign up for any event, check our calendar online at cecil.ebranch.info! To start reading “Bloodsworth” immediately, log on to hoopladigital.com and sign up with your library card and PIN. You can download the e-book to your device right away. Stop by or call 410-996-5600 x481 if you need any assistance.

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What Would You Do as King?

August 28th, 2013

kingpeggybookLibraries don’t just answer questions, they ask them. The Maryland Humanities Council’s One Maryland One Book reading and discussion program is a perfect example of how the library helps its community discuss important questions. This year’s selection, “King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village,” invites us to explore questions of culture and gender difference, as well as personal questions of how we might respond when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.

Like the wise and often funny Mma Ramotswe of Alexander McCall Smith’s “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency,” King Peggy has a talent for solving complicated problems. When I read “King Peggy,” I was struck by how similar her story could be to so many of our own—going about her daily life, working to make ends meet and then faced with a huge turning point that grants the opportunity to change lives. But we don’t have to be born into royalty to bring hope and transformation to town.

While we don’t struggle with issues like access to clean water and basic medical care such as in King Peggy, we do, like other areas in the state, have many people without jobs, a high school dropout rate we’re working to improve, and too many who go to bed hungry at the end of the day. I’m excited to share King Peggy’s story because I believe it will provoke powerful questions on the local impacts we might achieve by applying similar courage, creativity, and sacrifice. Even more, I’m excited to see what answers we’ll discover.

In addition to participating in discussions of the book at CCPL branches throughout the county, you’ll have the opportunity to meet King Peggy when she visits the Elkton Central Library on Monday, September 9th at 7:30pm. Join us for these other special King Peggy events:

What Is Wrong with a Woman Being Chief? — Thursday, September 12th at 7pm
African Storyteller: Jamal Koram (family event) — Thursday, September 19th at 6:30pm
Sankofa African Dance Company (family event) — Saturday, September 28th at 2:30pm

We hope you’ll join us and get inspired to consider the issues that affect communities near and far. If you were king, what problems would you tackle first?

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