- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
Do you know the story about the Smith and Carlos Statue in San Jose State University Campus?
Tommie Smith and John Carlos were the 1968 Olympic gold and bronze medal winners in the 200 meter run and they were the SJSU student activists. Tommie Smith’s raised black-glove represented black power. The knotted black scarf around his neck represented pride and the box in his left hand contained an olive tree sapling, which stood as an emblem of peach. John Carlos’s raised left black-glove represented unity in black America, and the beads around his neck signified lynching suffered by blacks. Both men wore black socks but were shoeless during the ceremony to represent the black poverty in racist America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power as quoted on SJSU Self Guided Tour Handout.
Sohn is the man at the centre of one of the iconic photographs of Olympic history. It is more understated than the snap of Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the black power salute at Mexico '68, but just as powerful. It was taken on 9 August 1936, at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. It shows three athletes on the podium during the medal ceremony of the Olympic marathon. At the back is the British silver medallist Ernie Harper. He is standing tall, shoulders back and head held high, a proud smile on his face. In front of him are two Korean runners, Sohn, gold medallist, and Nam Sung-yong, bronze medallist. Their heads are bowed and both are staring at their feet in, what they later called, "silent shame and outrage". Sohn is clutching a young oak tree to his chest. Nam would later say how envious he was of his team-mate. Not because of colour of his medal, but because unlike Sohn he had no oak tree to cover up the Japanese flag that was emblazoned across his shirt.
Between 1910 and 1948 Korea was under the Japanese rule, who suppressed the indigenous culture and language due to the Japanese imperialism and colonialism during the World War II. The flags that were raised and the anthem that was played to salute Sohn and Nam were not Korean, but Japanese, and the press and the IOC did not award or record the victory as a Korean triumph, but a Japanese one. Sohn was not even allowed to compete under his own name, but went by the Japanese transliteration, Son Kitei.
During his stay in Berlin Sohn tried to tell the would that they should not think of him as Japanese. He would sign his name in Korean characters, and would often draw a small picture of his country alongside his autograph. After the race he tried to tell the newspapermen again and again that he was Korean, not Japanese, but his minders refused to translate his remarks. Montague's mistake was repeated right around the world, with one conspicuous exception. Back in Korea the newspapers blurred the Japanese flag out of the photographs of Sohn. The Korean daily Dong-A Ilbo, which still exists today, carried the photo – with the Japanese flag scratched out – on its front page on 25 August. Immediately afterwards the Japanese government shut the Dong-A Ilbo down for nine months and arrested, then tortured, eight of its journalists as quoted on TheGuardian.
I think the common threads of the two stories are not only bowing their heads during the olympic medal ceremony for the silent protest, but also giving us the lesson about "take a stand” in what we believe in; equality, human rights, respect and freedom of speech etc.
San Jose Public Library Collections
The Black Count is a biography of Alexandre Dumas. No, not the novelist: his father. Born the mixed race son of a disgraced minor noble and his slave mistress, Alex Sr. grew up in a fugitive family in the backwoods of the island that would become Haiti. His father eventually returned to France, which voyage was funded by selling Alex’s mother and his siblings back into slavery, but favorite son Alex remained free and came with the old count as he schemed to reclaim the family fortune. Alex Sr. thus arrived in France at a transitional period in which blacks could be owned as slaves, but there were no legal limitations upon free blacks. When the family fortune proved to be largely a scam, Alex Sr. joined the army, where he proved to be such a fierce fighter and able leader of men that he was rapidly promoted to general in command of one of the French armies which were fighting to spread the revolution to the rest of Europe (whether the rest of Europe wanted it or not). The elder Dumas had quite a stellar military career, and has only been overshadowed because of the even greater success of his fellow general and personal rival, Napoleon.
And that’s only the part of this book that takes place before the strange events of Alex Sr.’s later life, upon which misadventures Alex Jr. would go on to write some of the world’s most beloved and enduring adventure novels.
150 East San Fernando Street., Downtown San Jose
Saturday, September 15, 2012, Room 255/257, 2:00 PM
Ernest Guzman, local historian, will revisit some famous and infamous incidents in San Jose’s past including the 1921 Candyman Murder; the Gorilla Man, one of the first serial killers in the United States; and the mystery of David Lamson (left in above photo) convicted of killing his wife, but ultimately freed.
This program is a perfect tie-in to our September Online Book Club title, Swift Justice.
To request an accommodation for Library-sponsored meetings or events, please call 408-808-2173 or 408-808-2130 (TTY) at least three business days before the meeting/event.
Barry’s The Great Influenza is a history of the 1918 flu epidemic. However, the book is of interest not just as history, but as an education in the science of medicine and the nature of disease. Largely forgotten today, in its era the epidemic was as much of a crisis as the first world war that was being fought at the same time. Barry’s narrative moves along at a brisk pace as he explains how wartime preparation and troop movements altered the progress of the epidemic at the same time that the epidemic forced changes in the conduct of the war. Rural areas far from the fighting, both in the US and elsewhere, also suffered from the ravages of the disease despite never hearing a shot fired in anger. But while the public has largely forgotten, medicine has not forgotten the 1918 epidemic, as in the intervening decades researchers have continued to study samples collected during the plague years, advancing the science of epidemiology against the possibility of future plagues. And Barry seamlessly integrates these modern discoveries into the historical record, creating a rather interesting detective story which traces the origin, spread, and decline of the disease. In an era when world-wide epidemic scares are a feature of the evening news, Barry’s tale of one of the first pandemics is useful as well as entertaining reading.
Princess Ka’iulani, starring Q'orianka Kilcher, shows glimpses of the adolescence and early adulthood of Victoria Ka’iulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawēkiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn, the last princess of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Princess Ka’iulani was daughter of Princess Likelike, from the the House of Kalākaua, and Archibald Scott Cleghorn, a Scottish businessman.
Iron Jawed Angels, starring Hilary Swank as Alice Stokes Paul, Frances O'Connor as Lucy Burns and Anjelica Huston as Carrie Chapman Catt, is about women’s rights activists who worked hard to influence the United States government to grant women the right to vote.
Mona Lisa Smile, starring Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles, is about a professor (Julia Roberts) who teaches art history at Wellesley College in the 1950’s. Although the female college students had more rights than their mothers and grandmothers did, they still lived in a world where women were expected to behave a certain way.
San Jose Public Library has many other movies that you may be interested in. Come on by, and visit! Any DVD that you check out from one SJPL location may be returned to any other SJPL location.
Did you know that Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, the first four presidents of the United States, were passionate gardeners, botanists and farmers, and, on social occasions, often preferred talking about these topics rather than politics? In Founding Gardeners, Andrea Wulf argues that the agricultural interests of the founding fathers played a major, but now forgotten, role in the development of the United States.
In this C-Span presentation, Andrea Wulf speaks at the home of 18th century botanist, John Bartram, whose garden was visited by many delegates of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.