February is African American History, or Black History Month. This month, we take the time to remember and learn about this country’s history and our current culture while celebrating the lives and contributions of black Americans.
The Library of Congress, along with many other Washington DC libraries, museums, and institutions have a site where you can dig around collections of photographs and documents. Exploring the digitized collections of our cultural institutions could inspire you towards a great research paper, or maybe a desire to pay a visit in person. Need a dose of Oprah (who doesn’t)? The National Museum of African American History & Culture has an exhibit up right now.
And of course, the Library has many resources. Here’s a new book in the collection:
“Before the Civil War, colonization schemes and Black laws threatened to deport former slaves born in United States. Birthright Citizens recovers the story of how African American activists remade national belonging through battles in legislatures, conventions, and courthouses. They faced formidable opposition, most notoriously from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott. Still, Martha S. Jones explains, no single case defined their status. Former slaves studied law, secured allies, and conducted themselves like citizens, establishing their status through local, everyday claims. All along they argued that birth guaranteed their rights. With fresh archival sources and an ambitious reframing of constitutional law-making before the Civil War, Jones shows how the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright principle, and Black Americans’ aspirations were realized. Birthright Citizens tells how African American activists radically transformed the terms of citizenship for all Americans”
Bye-bye to our favorite Special Collections and Reference Librarian, Art Bagley, who has been with us for over 31 years! He has worked diligently to archive and preserve material representing the history of The University of Tampa and, along with The Plant Museum, has secured materials highlighting many events here. During his time at UT, Art has accomplished many things for the benefit of the Macdonald-Kelce Library. Working alongside ROTC, Art developed the Florida Military Collection, a collection of books and materials on war and military history. He has also worked on many projects with the Tampa Bay History Center. Art has brought integrity, honesty, a love for history and humor to this place: he is a brilliant colleague and teacher. Thank you and best wishes for a long and happy retirement!
“Art vividly remembers helping one student when he was “fresh out of library school” who asked him how many inches are in a foot. He says he took a step back and remembered that what he was taught in school – there are no unimportant questions. She needed to know. So, he found a dictionary and showed her a conversion chart. As it turned out, she was an international student from Spain who had grown up using the metric system.
Art concludes the story saying, ‘That just drove home the importance of a reference librarian and understanding the needs of the patrons.’
Art’s knowledge of UT is really what sets him apart from most other staff members. He is somewhat of the go-to person for UT and local history on campus. He can pull out information on who was here when and what dorms used to look like (many even with old photos stored in his archives). Art seems to enjoy talking about the former students and staff members he finds in his records the most. One such story is that of John “Jack” Brockman who left UT twice to go to war. The first time was for World War II and the second time for the Korean War, coming back to study in between. Shortly after his arrival in Korea, he was captured by the North Koreans and was photographed by a Red Cross representative with other prisoners. That photograph made it out of Korea and into Life Magazine, but Jackn ever did. He most likely died as a prisoner of war. ”
For those of you who celebrate Christmas – Merry (almost) Christmas! To get in the spirit, please join the Macdonald-Kelce Library in celebrating University of Tampa history by visiting our new digital collections at macdonaldkelcelibrary.omeka.net
Peruse the Christmas Cards of UT past, and check back for more exhibits in the future.
If you are in Tampa for the winter break, the Library will be open until December 22, and will reopen on Wednesday, Jan 2.