tv Vivian G. Harsh Collection CSPAN July 4, 2016 2:30pm-3:16pm EDT
and thought, i want to read that bo. it is pretty thick and pretty heavy reading. president insights to him and his family. the challenges he face i have never seen before, never heard of before. highly recommend the book. >> do you, is your go-to biographies, non-fiction? >> i like biographies but up here there is so much we have to read factual stuff anyway. a lot of other stuff i like reading. i love peter schweizer's book, throw them all out, extortion. he has written good books what
is wrong with the government and i wish every american could read those as well. another one, one second after, about the emp threat most people don't even want to think too much about in this country. about 20 good non-fiction books i have read this year so far. and recommend them all. >> booktv wants to know what you're reading this summer. tweet us your answer @booktv or post it on the our facebook page, facebook.com/booktv. >> so beverly cook, where are we? >> we're in the lobby of the woodson regional library. in chicago, illinois. >> what is special about this library? >> besides me. the harsh research collection.n >> who was vivian g. harsh? >> he was the first african-american branch manager in the public library system. she is my mentor.
she started the special kneeing bro collection which we call the harsh collection. >> what is the negro collection. >> remember the hall where vivian harsh opened up in the black community, the black belt in 1932 first full service branch library for that community. she was the first branch manager and she had a mission. a mission to create a space for people to come in and learn, continue lifelong learning. how to read. how to discover. how to do anything that they needed to know how to do. to that she would bring in special books. she would bring in special people to talk about, things that was happening, current events in the city and around the country and she was just fantastic. she and her counterpart, charlotte hills rollins who was the children's librarian. >> when you say where were they physically? >> this collection started off at 48th and michigan.
if you ever get a chance look at it. the building is still there. i the architect is fantastic. it was very unique for that time because there was a room for adults, a room for teenagers and a room for considered. >> was it considered the black library? >> it was the only black library in the community at that time in 1932. remember we had this huge influx of african-americans fleeing the south coming to chicago. >> why chicago? >> chicago, a lot of it was because of robert abbott. he advertised in the chicago defender that chicago was the place for us to come to have freedom of choice. to have better education. to leave the lynch mobs for an opportunity. so he would work with the pullman porters, because the "chicago defender" was illegal in the south. >> what is the "chicago defender"? >> the newspaper.
robert abbott started it in 1905 and the pullman porters worked hand in hand they would drop off defenders as they going through the south. if you look at early defender, it was heavy on visual. you talk about a population that was not really very literal. they were illiterate so he advertised it. they jumped the train. they left in the middle of the night. they came to chicago. >> and vivian harsh collected what? what did she collect? >> vivian harsh collected black history. she collected black serials, black newspapers, anything that would speak to the black experience. when you study vivian harsh she is a historian who never wrote however she left a big foot prints to follow. she would, in early papers she was a socialite. you see her at tea parties andpr things like that but under the
tutelage of people like carter woodson and george hall she became a social activist. she started going to the schaumburg and looking to other collections what made up a special negro collection. with help from the julius rosen walled foundation grant she made the trips. she started collecting books on black history. there were not many at that time but she collected them. she had a bookcase in her office, she called it thean special negro collection. what people tell me, she didn't just let anybody go in that room and read those books. you had to really prove you were worthy of reading those books. that is the nucleus of our collection. >> how large is the harsh collection today? >> we have over 4,000 linear feet of manuscript collections. we have about maybe about 30,000, 40,000 books. it changes. we have one of the largest periodical selections in the united states because remember,
we started collecting back in 1932. what you may recognize we have every issue of "ebony," quote jet." negro digest. johnson publications. we have them on microfilm and abbott's monthly a magazine that abbotts started. it didn't last but we have some of the few editions that are just left. >> we'll look at some defender items on our tour. the defender still published. >> it is weekly now. it started off 1905 as weekly. 1940 it went daily after abbott died. here recentally gone back to a weekly newspaper but still very, very popular. still very, very influential.y still very, very heavily read in the black community. >> who uses the vivian harsh
collection and who can use it? >> we're open seven day as week. so everybody can use it. but the wonderful thing i would say our constituents are from the cradle to the grave and i truly mean that it doesn't matter if you're black or white because we have people from both all races colling here.tr we have people coming internationally from france, from japan, from great britain. they come here to use theen come collection and this case that we're standing in front of right now is the output of a lot of researchers coming here using our collection. they use our manuscript collections and then they write their books on what they need to go. wallace best, passionately human, no less defined, i love that title. it talks about the rise of gospel music in chicago. talks about elder lucy smith, some of the early church figures in chicago.
you have darlene clark hines at a professor at northwestern, doing a book on chicago black renaissance. i am happy to say we really promoted that. people always written and talked about the harlem renaissance. people seem to have forgotten once the harlem reasons money dried up, under wpa under fdr really started and those writers came to chicago to finish their research and their work. >> when was the chicago renaissance? a >> i would say the chicago renaissance was about from 1937 or '35 to early 60's. >> by the way are we located in african-american neighborhood in chicago?o? >> yes, we are. yes, we are. i would say -- fdr started the wpa project put people out of the humanities back to work.
you had writers, photographers, you had camera people. you had musicians able to go out into the black community to people that would recognize them and be open to them, to get their story. we're still doing it today with story craft but back in those days you haded african-americans going into the community where did your grandfather come from? the first-hand story of the people that came from the south, the migration story. they met people like charles sebe walton, member of the south side community art center started during the wpa days. still one of the few that was lasting created under fdr. so chicago has quite a lot to boast about. >> i want to ask you about adam green's book, "selling the race." what is this about? >> he looks at the economy during that time period, what works and what didn't work.
spends a lot of time in the book kind of explaining the rise ofof the black press. people like john h. johnson. people like the "chicago defender," the courier. so he really does a lot of things saying how the economy worked during the black migration period and during world war i and world war ii. it is really fantastic work youd know? one of the book people really like is kings though. it's a subject matter a lot of people know about especiallyeo older people. >> what is this book about? >> policy. the policy, today's lottery, yesterday's lottery. >> policy, kings and numbers, racketeers. >> exactly. >> policy was actually lottery? >> it was. we realized it. in those days it was not. it was a numbers wheel. i can remember my auntie giving me numbers, i didn't know what
they were, go down to such and t street, put five cents. not talking about dollars. five cents on this an five cents on that. somebody else would turn the wheel and would get numbers and how people got their money. later on the state decided to legalize it so we have lotto today. it is fantastic. it was illegal during those days people did what they had to do to put food on the table to take care of their children. >> beverly chemical, how did you end up here at the woodson library. >> i started at rehabilitation institute in chicago. i had a job working there. i was getting tired on beingtu hung up on. i was outpatient billing. i got my masters in library science.re >> what is your interest? where is the connection there. >> the connection is this collection was always in the black community. i always lived in brownsville. when it was at 48th and michigan i was there.
when it moved here in '75 i kind of followed it. because it was, everything youna needed to find you would find in the harsh research collection. most newest books, people comeed out to talk about their books so they always saw me. the assistant curator at that time, edward manning said why don't you become a librarian? i have a job. i don't need to be librarian. >> he said you're out here more than people that work here. believe it or not he had application to rosary college he made me fill out then and there. he mailed it off. i got accepted. when i graduated, he said did you call and get interview? i said no. we set up an interview for you. i went down and interviewed by charlie erickson. interviewed one day, hired the next day. started december 23rd, 1986 and never regretted it since. >> what you failed to tell us you went on vacation,d have n december 28th, 1986.
>> it was a -- december 25th was holiday. i was very blessed and lucky. >> you've been here since 1987? >> not this physical site but with the chicago public library since 1986. >> what is your role with the vivian harsh collection? >> it's a dual role because i am a librarian but i'm on archivist by passion and choice. i do reference services and help patrons that come in but i'm also a archivist who loves to dig into other people's business. >> okay. >> other people's business. >> if somebody came in and said i'm really interested, miss cook, in richard wright, could you help them? >> definitely i could. shall we move? >> sure. >> okay.ri >> now where are we? >> we are now heading towards our main exhibit gallery. we usually try to do two exhibit as year and since you guys were
coming out to interview us we decided to let this out for you. you asked me about richard wright. richard wright, everybody knows richard wright, native son, black boy, angry black man, okay? richard wright -- >> lived in chicago. >> lived in chicago for a while before he went on to new york. strange he spent more time in new york than chicago but he had such a huge influence on the chicago renaissance writers of that period because they moved back and forth that we claim him, okay? some.e material out here on the table right now, here is a picture of richard wright and vivian g. harsh. he is presenting autographed copy of "native son" to her. >> was vivian g. harsh a white come? >> no, she was very light. a lot of early african-americans leaders were light enough to pass for white. >> is that important? >> to me it is, that meant they were able to fit into a society that created no animosity or no
fears to the existing society around them which was mostly white. okay? >> this is a first draft. >> this is a first draft of the the big boy leaves home. this is kind of important. all -- >> typing in his writing? >> typing, editing and we learned here that he lived at 3743 south indiana. >> where is that located? >> well, indiana is about three or four blocks from state street. state street is the dividing line east and west. >> sure. >> this is fantastic because it was written in 193and it is all -- 1936 and it is all about stripping away innocence of black boys. it starts with four black boys in the south having idyllic time jumping as boys will do. probably teenagers. then they decide they will go swim in a swimming hole, okay? one of the boys said, you know
mr. howard ain't going to like that. that was the white guy that owned land. other one said no, let's go on and try it. they took off all the clothes and swimming in there and all of sudden they heard something and when they looked up they saw this white lady. she was standing there. she come upon them unexpectedly. they immediately felt fear. because they knew they were not supposed to be there. so they jumped out of the water. two start to run away and stopel the other two say let's go get our clothes. they were near the white lady. she starts screaming. they never did say in the book whether it was her husband or whoever, some white guy heard and came along and had a shotgun. shot two of the boys right then and there died. big boy grabbed gun and wrestled with it and showed no fear of the white guy. he said, boy, give me that gun. while he was fighting for it the gun discharged. he killed the white guy. he also felt fear. ran home. told the story i will not give you whole story.
the story to me is about how four young man, mainly one big boy goes from idyllic childhood scene to angry young man because now you're running for your life. now you are leaving your home and all your people and all you're comfortable with and running to the north. okay? >> he wrote this book in chicago? >> he wrote this book in chicago. >> first draft. >> in 1936, part of a later publication of uncle tom's children. >> the white man, taller and36 a heavier, throwing big boy to the ground. bobo dropped the, ran up and jumped on to the white man's back. >> to try -- >> you black son a bitch, sons of bitches. >> you have to like the language. >> you could see the anger in richard wright. it is ainge remember frankly that spoke to the public because
a lot of people were feeling that anger and that disconnect because they were in america, okay? and land of opportunity and land of free, but they still didn't have the same opportunity. >> in 1936 was there large enough black population in chicago to buy this book, read the book, buy it, understand where he was coming from? >> they didn't publish this book in 1936, but remember, the hall blanch library, it was a university outside after university at 48th and michigan. that meant that the public was insited in. people like richard wright, langston hughes, jack conroy, that was their homeplace. that was their meeting place. so you could come in and listen to people like margaret walker who we study and read today,ei richard wright, read their work. that says, yes the public read it and got a chance. remember we're still talking about basically a lot of people who could not read and write.
for them to be invited to author's talk where the author reading his own work is fantastic. >> 1936 most african-americans in the chicago area what kind of jobs did they have? >> menial. th labor, maids, selling newspaper. >> better than the south? >> in the south remember at this point in time they have had the infestation, bovine infestation. they had the new mechanization come along. there is not big job for picking cotton because they have machines that can do it. you have jim he crow laws. you have lynching. yeah, pretty much better to leave, you know. there are no jobs because even, remember after world war ii, sharecropping came in which meant that i got to go to you to borrow money to rent your land, borrow money to buy the seed too farm your land, borrow money to buy equipment to work your land.
by the time my harvest came i owed you my whole paycheck. what do i have to show for the whole year? >> you mentioned langston hughes. i think of him as a new yorker. >> i know you do. [laughter] before we hit langston i want to show you two more things. right here is ara bell thompson. i bring her hupp because we have her collection. she was managing editor and international editor for "ebony." she was managing editor of "ebony" africa for two years it ran. she was writing at same time as richard wright. the world knows richard wright. they don't know thompson, only people professional in the field because his anger was louder than her humor. she had the same feelings she had coming from the south, beinr discriminated against but as a
four feet 11 woman she had to find another way to get her story out. so she used humor. a lot of her story was untold.d. as her collection becomes processed, i think you will see a lot of books coming out that later compare them. she did a biography, africa, land of my father and gave us a manuscript. it was published at the same time richard wright's "block power" was published.li they are autobiographical stories of their year in africa. everybody has read this book. very few people -- >> arabell thompson. >> and it is called? >> "africa, land of my fathers quote. >> could you buy it today, go to amazon or get it at the library. >> it is at at library. people haven't noticed it yet. just like the chicago renaissance we finish processing her papers you will be hearing abouter had. some of people in this collection, see how beautiful this rice paper is.
this was a letter she received -- >> 1963. >> 1963 from a minister in seou korea. we have so much great technology at cpl now i was able to call on one of my colleagues to translate this because i can't read that. but i wanted to read -- i >> i see ebony, christ jesus, these are the words that i can read. >> i will read the first paragraph for you. >> please do. >> no subject discussed in the world divides as widely as subject of race. racism in varying forms and to various degrees has been a plague on humanity for thousands of years. i weep that the world continues to be sharply divided by race, not united by the blood ofof jesus. 1963. isn't that fantastic? over in korea. and i saw, it is things like this here that keeps this collection so vibrant and so alive. you see the mixture.ee i just didn't give you one person. you see the connection betweenbn
arabell thompson working for y johnson until she retired in 1970. richard wright coming to the hall branch telling the world at large. the two were connected. >> who are the johnson? >> founder and publisher of "ebony" magazine. w >> negro digest. >> what heritage did he leave? >> because during he time because he started in "ebony" in 1945. he lived same time frame he did. >> right here in chicago. >> right here in chicago. this is something important to remember about the chicago humanitarians authors. they were all here almost at the same time. their lives interconnected.ere you know and they believe were given whatever choices or chances they were given they should go back and pull somebody else up. t it was also about service to the community which fit in with the
library's mission and vivian g. harsh's mission. >> now we get to langston hughes. the "new yorker." >> the "new yorker" who started out here in chicago. went back to new york. because of friendships he made here he spent a lot of his time here. he used branch in michigan to write write the first draft of the big c. >> you have the draft. >> and we have the original. this is the copy of it. was in bad shape. a lot of time we have to do preservation and conservation of our books.is we had a new cover put on and acid-free pages because the public could utilize it. this is the original. >> okay. >> this is really great because a lot of people like to come in, and they like to see the editions, edited that the writers themselves do to the word and compared to the finished product of the work. >> how long did langston hughes spend in chicago?
>> from the letters between him and thompson's collection there are about 20 years span of letters. he didn't spend all that time in chicago. as i say he went back to new york but because of the friendships he made he kept d coming back and forth. you know what? book in those days the pen was mighty weapon because people had to use the letters to communicate with each other. today we have the internet and whatever else we want to use, our smartphone. you but because of the letters they wrote back and forth we got a chance to see their developing friendship. first couple of those started out, miss thompson, thank you for publishing my poem in ebony. by the end it is belle this or you can see the friendship growing. so that is fantastic. i found this here in charlotte hills roll lynns collection.
this was inscribed for charlotte may rollins. this is by langston hughes, portrait of the negro. i put this out here because it was written by arnold. this was arnold and jack conroy who were the head of illinois writers project during the wpa days. also, within this portrait, the negro, poem from a, early poem from gwendolyn brooks. this is fantastic also. depending on what you need. bib low files like to come in to see the autographed copy. researchers like to come in to see early black writing by early black authors. >> so if somebody wanted to come in and said i saw on booktv the original draft by langston hughes could they come in and see it? >> of course. we have some of the most, wonderful hours for the public to use our manuscript collection in the united states okay?
i think we're open 48 hours to the public. it simply means, when you come in you have to fill out a patroe registration form, telling uss who you are and what you want to see and surrender an i.d., okay? the gloves on the end of the table which we aren't using r today, just to let you know that certain materials our patrons have to put on gloves to use because we don't want oils from your fingers to touch our papers or touch our books because it would cause their deterioration. >> what else do you want to show us here from your collection, the vivian harsh collection? >> okay. charlotte may hill rollins. this is the opposite of woodson on the wall. she worked hand in hand with vivian g. harsh. charlemagne hill rollins was very open and very friendly, very social. she was a mentor to gwendolyn brooks. she was a mentor to langston hughes. a lot of writers, margaret walker really came in and loved her.
vivian harsh on other hand she was called the lieutenant, okay? i won't even tell you why. you can imagine. she was more from the old social elite, okay? her family was from the old settlers club in chicago. she had a tendency to be stand offish but was passion about her special negro collection. >> where did the money for her family come from? >> money is not even issue. old settlers club was people that settled in chicago from the very beginning. it was a status that you had, you know, just like if you could read and write back in the day you had a status as opposed to having a million dollars. get the picture, okay? however vivian harsh did graduate from simmons college with a degree in library science charlotte may left the south ahead of danger, i put it that way. ahead of danger. came to chicago for a better life.
she was married to joseph rollins in the army. she had a child. she started off at a hall right after vivian g. harsh. her passion and her love however was children. she was a gifted storyteller from what everybody tells me. she wrote herself, we have several, we have all of her published work in her collection but she also had a passion about what type of books should be in the library. she applied for a grant and was able to get together to write this curriculum guide, we built together, back in, oh, 1939 to 1940. what it really is, is a manifesto of the types of materials that libraries, not only in chicago but around the country, around the world, what type of books they should have on the shelf. this grew out of a study where the chicago teachers symposium
asked teachers in public schools what do you want to do when you grow up. they asked white kids, i like to go to lucy flowers school to learn how to sow. i guess that i can't go there. question was, why not? that was mostly in the black community. even then there was this bias. this child didn't know why. she was just repeating what someone else said. that struck her and they started doing studies and looking at books on the shelf. what you see out here are examples she was fighting against. elizabeth ritter parasols for ladies and this book of the whole point, if a book doesn't present a positive image to a child, it should not be on your shelf, whether it's a black child, white child, asian child. children have to have a role model. she kept some of the books in her clerk shun to use as tools what not to purchase. she took this story not only
locally but nationally. >> what is the point? is elizabeth ritter a white author. >> yeah. >> pair are sos is for ladies, why is that book? >> look at imagery. soon rated features around the eye, the mouth and big bows. it doesn't present a positive image to black kids of what they can expect in life. and that is the type of negative image she wanted off the shelves. and another famous book, i didn't put it out here was little black sambo. it was on the shelves of most libraries around the country. she said this is very negative. we don't want our children to believe this is what they are going to grow up to expect to be or how people should see them. this double-negative image was not only on the black kids reading it but on the white kids reading it. that is what they saw as a face of a black child. you and i know that is not quite true. so her purpose was to fight this
here and she did it. >> [inaudible] >> well, this is election season, right? i brought this here out to show you some of the other things that we have in our collection. this is from the arlen mackel, dentist that had to flee for his life from natchez. the citizens committee was starting to get very close to the kkk, how they reacted to people criticizing them. so even though his family was from old money, we could say and was part of a the social elite of the blacks down south, he too had to leave because he started getting threatening letters and things. he had about four or five children. but the point here i'm making is that even back then this one i think is from 1938 or 1939, this is from 1950. to vote you had to prove you could answer those wonderful
questions that they had and then, someone would give you a document, letting the person know you had paid your dues and you could register to vote, okay? he thought so much of it, so even though he left natchez, he kept these in his papers and when he died, his family donated his papers to us. >> sheriff's office. adams county, mississippi. poll tax for year 1950, $2. his name is filled out. >> and where he lived also. $2 do not look like much now but it couldn't buy a nice bottle of pop. book in the day $2 counts for something. >> chester come door, who was chester commodore? >> chester commodore who was cartoonist worked for the "chicago defender" for about, 40 years. >> you have his collection? >> we have his collection. we have his cartoons.
photocopies of his cartoons and documents and his memorabilia.on he loved making trains using his hands. he also recognized that the public that he was speaking to could not read a lot. so he is a gentleman that really used the idea a picture is worth a thousand words to tell a story. the shame of mississippi is ino the exhibit over there.. beth will show it to you a little later. also the supreme court decision is obvious what this is telling. brown versus board of education, yeah. we brought this one out because it speaks to what is happening today. and i think one is -- >> late '92. >> that is one of his cartoons. >> is that the original? sure looks like it. >> he drew on everything. >> this is from 1992. >> yeah. >> beverly cook, this weekend in 2016, 51 shootings in chicago this past weekend. >> yeah. >> are we in eppy center right
now in that area on the south side of chicago? >> no, not the epicenter because what i noticed from listening to the news lately it is jumping. it is not just staying in one community now. used to be in the past it was south side or west side but i'm noticing the violence is jumpinm communities these days. it is in rosamund. up in rogers park, uptown, so that, what the answer is? i don't know what the answer is but i do know we need to give our kids something to do besides stand on the corner and think of bad things. remember what they used to tell us growing up? idle hands is the devil's workshop, okay? that is so true. that is so true. if you gave the kids something to do, whether it is work or whatever, like the library tries to provide, we're doing something today, called, on the table. where people can come in and express their wishes what they think the library should do for their community.
we provide kids with lunches. once that don't have lunches, parents may work. provide safe harbor for kids to come in. we're providing services for them from the time they're down here, 3 or 4 years old, doing finger painting, story telling to the time they're in college and beyond college trying to write their dissertations. trying to find primary source material to do their books. trying to create a documentarian on chicago like a paper trail or desalvo to obama. we're all things to all people. >> joining us on our tour of the vivian harsh collection here in chicago is archive it beth loch. now your partner -- >> yeah, beverly cook. >> beverly cook mentioned chesser to commodore. >> yes. chester commodore is part of our 100 years of the "chicago defender" exhibit.
we have quite a quite a bit abom because he was integral to the newspaper. he drew cartoons for them 50 years. he was nominated for the pulitzer prize twice. this is great image taken of hie around 1980. he first joined the paper, editorial cartoonist in 1954. this is the very first cartoon he drew for the chicago defender. >> brown people.n >> very famous and important piece. and he drew this and it was published june 12th, 1954. it really kind of designated that civil rights and social justice issues would be what he would really bring to the "chicago defender." they already had this idea they were going to be a newspaper that really helped african-americans and civil rights and voting. the double v, the victory during world war ii. victory abroad, victory at home in civil rights and you could really see that in his cartoonsc the supreme court decision
really marked beginning of that. another very important cartoon he did was the shame off mississippi cartoon. this was done in september of 19455. you can see hanging from the tree, a little bit graphic but he wanted to shock his readers into paying attention. you have three men, george lee, lamar smith and written, little mem it till. those were three black men killed in the south during a campaign of lynching. there is a someone going away with his dog, coming up behind them, like calvary, you have civil rights activities dr. trm howard. and roy wilkins. he was actually working down in south on emmett till case. he invited journalists and advise them about people they should interview. this was published one week
before the trial started about the, for the men who killed emmett till.ne >> beth loch i hear your description of chester commodore, it went through my head, chester commodore was never awarded pulitzer prize for his work. >> he was no nated twice in the 1970s. 1973 and 1980 but around that time. we actually have both of the proposals he put together to have pulitzer prize but unfortunately, i think unfairly he lost both times, i could be a little biased. >> what is the importance of the "chicago defender" to black journalism, to chicago itself? >> it was really a local paper. what is important about the "chicago defender" it had two printings. they had a national printing and a local printing and the local you can see here on microfilm, seven days a week we're open. it was really important because they had local news, what was happening in brownsville, what
was happening all over the city. it was really kind of something that businesses could go in and they could talk about their businesses, schools could have their names printed. local ladies clubs put their advertisements in about organizations they were working with and then you had the national edition. that came out once a week. that was the paper that was smug gelled down into the south during the civil rights era by the pullman porters which was unofficial contract that the publishers had. they would sneak them in because down south they weren't very highly regarded. >> did the defender promote new writers? >> oh absolutely. part of the exhibit we pulled from over six different collections and each of those contain writers. there was poetry section, lights and shadow, edited by dewey roscoe jones. he asked local authors to contribute to the election.
there was first african-american woman who won the pulitzer prize. >> show us that part of the display. what have you got here? >> this is dewey roscoe jones. you can see that he was the editor of the defender's lights and shadows. this was a column anybody could contribute to. so you have all sorts of people writing in, short stories, longc stories, little diddies and it really became more like a club than just a column in the newspaper. he really encouraged this idea of inclusiveness. so you really felt like it was your local paper that you were writing to but it had a national audience. he left the "chicago defender" and he went on to work at thehe whole house, which he just started to work at when he passed away in 1939. >> is the whole house located close to where we are? >> it's a little bit further north and west. >> okay.
now i wanted to ask you about this 19, i'm sorry, 2008 cover of the defender and this display here. >> all right. >> you have all the copies of the defender here on display. >> microfilm or search online with proquest, we have hard c editions of the paper because everybody loves to look at them. we've been talking about the o "chicago defender"'s early history. civil rights, early publishing. the fact they encouraged local and national writers. here is something very recent in terms of historical context. we have president barack obama becoming president back in 2008 and as everybody from chicago know he was a senator from illinois before he went there. so he actually gave an interview on behalf of the "chicago defender," you can see here on the right. he talks about the importance of the "chicago defender" to chicago, to the state nationally, the important work that they did. so we have that transcript there. >> why do you have dreams from
my father and jonathan alter's the promise here as well in the display case? >> we want to show some of the books. people come to archive and think it is all dusty old materials that you have to sit down and read. half of our collection, a big portion of that are actually reference books you can read here and these are just a few of them from the collection. but it really speaks, not only to the "chicago defender" and what he did as a senator but to his lifelong work in the community. >> how did you get here to woodson regional library? >> it was kind of a long trip. i'm originally from minnesota. i came down to chicago, second largest city with museums and historical centers. then i really got into irish history, my background which monitors the civil rights of african-americans. who couldn't be, who couldn't fall in love with the south side of chicago history. >> one other thing that you can show us from the collection. >> oh, absolutely.
so archive archivists have a number of projects. we put together exhibits like the "chicago defender." we help researchers and how to scan in documents but one of my favorite tasks is processing. collections come in in garbage cans and boxes. we go to somebody's house and pick them up. sometimes they're organized. >> are they willedded to you? >> sometimes they're willed to us by individual themselves. sometimes family members drop them off. sometimes papers of organization that hear about good work we do and want to be part of a collection. this collection i'm currently working on and processing are reverend addy and claude wyatt papers. this collection is unusual because it is broken into two parts. we have the manuscript collection, mostly papers, including my sojourn to selma, alabama, which was a speech she
wrote in 1965 after visiting alabama, shortly after she wro martin luther king, jr.'s march from selma to montgomery. so she went there. she stayed with people. spoke to the locals. and then came back to chicago and shared what she learned down there. so this part is processed. people can come in, they can do it now. what is unprocessed is the very large photograph collection that she, her husband and family left us. about 3,000 photographs, unprocessed still. there are a number of duplicates. this is just the first one. >> who were the reverend addy and reverend claude wyatt?s >> absolutely. they were copastors of a church on the south side, located on stone any island and 890th. it is still the, the church is still going. vernon park church of god was the name of the church they copastorred for over 40 years. however, addi wyatt was a meat