THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN LIBRARY AND HERITAGE THOUGHTS
In keeping with our mission as an educational institution, I want to share a little-known Black History fact and a series of quotations from African Americans that have significant importance beyond the annual observance of African American History Month. I will share other selected little-known facts in this commentary series throughout the month of February.
This pattern will be continued for Hispanic Heritage Month and other major observances, with the objective of enhancing our cultural understanding.
The First African American Library
One of the nations first public libraries was launched on February 20, 1833, with the founding of the Philadelphia Library Company of Colored Persons. The founders advanced a tradition of African reading and writing over two thousand years old. When African nations were conquered during the enslavement period, scholars and those entrusted with the keys of knowledge were among the first people killed.
The oral historians who survived were able to decode the ghostly writings on surfaces that the conquerors had not destroyed pyramid walls, sealed temples, caves, and ancient tablets. These ancient writings revealed that the tradition of African libraries dates back to that of Egypts King Osymandys, circa 1240 BC. Much of what is known as Greek philosophy is derived from the ancient religious systems known as Egyptian mysteries.
The first African American library founded in Philadelphia empowered the African American through knowledge and in the words of an Egyptian inscription KNOW THYSELF!
Selected Related Quotations
- Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you done (Janis Weatherall Clark)
- Never let pride be your guiding principle. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. (Morgan Freeman)
- Success isn’t measured by the position you reach in life; it’s measured by the obstacles you overcome. (Booker T. Washington)
- A man without knowledge of himself and his heritage is like a tree without roots. (Dick Gregory)
- We create our own destiny by the way we do things. We have to take advantage of opportunities and be responsible for our choices. (Benjamin Carson, M.D.)
- We must turn to each other and not on each other. Let nobody and nothing break your spirit. Never surrender your dreams. (Rev. Jesse Jackson)
- If a man is to be called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
- Probably one of the most serious psychological handicaps young people have today is the notion that it is cool to be a non-achiever; that it is to put down hard work in school. (Bill Cosby)
- Jump at the sun. You may not land on the sun, but at least you’ll be off the ground. (African American Traditional Saying)
- Theres a lot of talk about self-esteem these days. It seems pretty basic to me. If you want to feel good about yourself, you’ve got to do things that you can be proud of. (Oseola McCarty)
- Mrs. McCarty was an African American woman who spent her life earning money by taking in washing in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She surprised the world by donating $150,000 for a scholarship program at The University of Southern Mississippi that she and other African Americans could not attend.
- You can’t make someone elses choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours. (Colin Powell)
- Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. Why would anyone deny themselves the pleasure of my company? (Zora Neale Hurston)
My customary comment food for thought captures the essence of the little-known fact and the selected quotations. Next week’s commentary will include another little-known fact.