EMILY J. POINTER PUBLIC LIBRARY ANNOUNCES 2014 COMO READS
Inspiring our community to pick up a good book . . . attend a program, talk about the book with a neighbor, create a community of readers!
Como, Miss., Jan. 24, 2014- Emily J. Pointer Public Library, a branch of the 5 county, 13-branch First Regional Library, announces its second annual community read! This year’s book selection is Glory Be, by Mississippi native Augusta Scattergood. 2014 Como Reads will culminate in a week’s worth (Feb 1-7, 2014) of programming exploring the book and a main theme of the book – civil rights in smalltown Mississippi, circa 1964.
Glory Be and author Augusta Scattergood
This highly acclaimed young adult novel is Augusta Scattergood’s first book. Scattergood grew up in Cleveland and began her career in librarianship in 5th grade when she was a library monitor. “I’m thrilled to be part of the library’s Como Reads celebration and can’t wait to share the journey of writing and publishing Glory Be with all your bright readers,” she said recently. Scattergood will be talking about how her book came to be in her Friday afternoon talk, How Writers Choose Their Characters or More Precisely, How Characters Choose Their Writers.
Scattergood explains: Readers and writers, young and old, often want to know where I found the inspiration for my characters. Are they real people? Am I Glory? Where do writers come up with their inspiration? Scattergood will tackle all those questions in her talk and sign copies of Glory Be, an event sponsored by the Emily J. Pointer Friends of the Library.
Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle Film Screenings
The library is one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. The powerful documentaries, The Abolitionists, Slavery By Another Name, Freedom Riders and The Loving Story include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. The library will be screening The Loving Story, Slavery By Another Name and Freedom Riders in conjunction with Como Reads. After the programming, the dvds will be available for check-out at the library. These films chronicle the long and sometimes violent effort to achieve the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence – life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “We are pleased to receive a grant from NEH to provide programming around these films. I knew it would be a perfect fit for Como Reads because civil rights are a driving force in Scattergood’s Glory Be,” says librarian Alice Pierotti, “These films will allow open and honest dialogue about one of the most dynamic periods of American history. We have such amazingly rich stories from our own back yard; I want to make sure young library patrons know about local heroes and how they fit into the larger American civil rights landscape.”
The Created Equal film set is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Additionally, the library received a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council to bring a MHC Speaker’s Bureau speaker to Como. Highlighting the Legacy: African Americans in Mississippi, a talk by noted Mississippi filmmaker Dr. Wilma Clopton, will accompany the screening of the film Slavery By Another Name.
A Civil Rights Veterans’ Reunion
The 50th anniversary of 1964 has given the nation opportunity to shine a spotlight on events that shaped America’s remarkable civil rights struggle. The Como library, too, is aboard with the idea. “We’ve worked really hard at the library to pay attention to our story. The library teens have had remarkable success with oral history projects and paying attention to and gather our civil rights story is an extension of that work,” says Pierotti.
Curtis Ellis, Jim Kates, Willie Curtis Johnson, Larry Taylor and Arrece Webb will be on hand to share what they were doing in 1964 in Como and Panola county and how their civil rights work helped mold the area’s history. The panel will be facilitated by Panolian publisher John Howell. At the close of the panel, Eva Joyce Warfield Roberson, who was studying music at Tougaloo College in 1964, will lead the crowd in a freedom song sing-a-long.
CATALYST, North Panola 8th Graders and the John Maurer Freedom Summer Photography Exhibit
CATALYST (Como Altruistic Teens and Library Youth Serving Together) worked together to create a ’64 Freedom Summer Sites brochure to accompany the Como Reads programming. “We couldn’t find information in a book so we created a brochure to help people learn about important places in Panola county,” says 15 year old Robert Cox, who illustrated important sites like Thomas Sundry, Robert Miles’ home and West Camp Church for the brochure. “Some of the places aren’t even around anymore,” says Cox, “like the Batesville Courthouse. I had to find pictures of the old one and sketch from the old pictures.”
The library partnered with North Panola Jr. High for some groundbreaking offsite programming for Como Reads. The library teamed with 8th grade language arts teacher, Ms. Anda Weaver, to create classroom curriculum centered on Glory Be and other primary source materials from the summer of 1964 in Como. “Jim Kates was a COFO worker assisting with voter registration drives in Como in 1964 and we’ve taken the letters he wrote home, turned them into reader’s theatre and added some gorgeous freedom songs to the mix,” Pierotti remarks. Bringing the reader’s theatre to life will be a trio of talented Oxford musicians and storytellers: Damein Wash, Adrian Barron-Robbins and Rebecca Jernigan and a 17 year old Senatobia high schooler, Jorge Ortega.
Weaver says, “We 8th graders are really getting into the book and are so excited to learn more about the freedom worker who was right here in our own community.” The reader’s theatre, Facing South, Looks Like More: One Young Man’s Voice from the Summer of Freedom will be presented to all six sections of her language arts classes. Students will then use their own vocal power to create a song, speech or letter from the perspective of a 1964 Como person.
On display in the library’s meeting room is a collection of twenty photographs taken the summer of 1964 in Batesville by Rev. John Maurer, who spent time photographing the voter registration progress around the state that summer. “These photographs are so special, you get to see inside the Freedom School, where many young Batesville children were educated that summer,” says Como youth specialist Veneda Ruby.
“We’re really pleased with all that has come out of this year’s Como Reads,” says Pierotti, “Books are supposed to transport us to other places. That’s what they are designed to do. For those who were around in 1964 this place should look familiar. For those who weren’t around yet, buckle your seat belt, this was one of America’s most infinitely fascinating periods. Let’s all celebrate that. And the books that can take us there.”
Programming, in brief (see www.facebook.com/comolibrary for additional information)
Saturday, February 1, 12:00 pm, Como library – Screening and discussion of The Loving Story with Carolyn Head
Monday, February 3, 4:30 pm, Como library – Highlighting the Legacy: African Americans in Mississippi and screening of Slavery by Another Name with Dr. Wilma Clopton
Wednesday, February 5, 4:30 pm, Como library – Screening and discussion of Freedom Riders with Dr. Henry Outlaw
Thursday, February 6, 4:30 pm, Como library – Civil Rights Veterans Remember Como and Panola County 1964 (Curtis Ellis, Jim Kates, Willie Curtis Johnson, Larry Taylor and Arrece Webb, panelists; Eva Joyce Warfield Roberson, music director; John Howell, facilitator)
Friday, February 7, 4:30 pm, Como library – How Writers Choose Their Characters or More Precisely How Characters Choose Their Writers, Author’s talk and booksigning with Augusta Scattergood
About Emily J. Pointer Public Library The library is a gathering place, a learning portal, an archive, a hub, an information center, a hill country music guide and, most of all, a proud member of its community. Recipient of the prestigious 2012 John Cotton Dana Public Relations award for work done making the library the go to place for hill country blues information, the library continues to make its mark at the local and state level as an amazing example of a great public library.
About Como, Mississippi Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, downtown Como, Mississippi is known for its unique charm, downtown eateries (including the world famous Como Steakhouse), bed & breakfasts, Mississippi Blues Trail markers, historic churches, stately homes and locally owned shops. About 45 miles south of Memphis just off I-55, Como offers a chance to get away from it all and relish the feeling of a small town friendly atmosphere.
About Glory Be The book tells the story of a fictional small Mississippi town where the public swimming pool closes to prevent it from being integrated. The heroine is 12-year-old Gloriana Hemphill who is bitterly disappointed when the pool is closed. She finds encouragement at the local library, and strength to stand up for the right thing. The book is a Magnolia Children’s Choice Award nominee, was selected as July’s NPR Backseat Book Club pick. Scattergood was honored with the Mississippi Library Association’s 2013 Author’s Award in October.