America’s forgotten white supremacist coup d’état

The questions we get at the library are a barometer of what is on our collective minds, so it comes as no surprise that this week people have been asking us just what is a ‘coup’? The word ‘coup’ is a French word meaning ‘strike’ or ‘blow,’ and when combined with ‘état,’ or ‘state,’ we get ‘coup d’état,’ which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as ‘a sudden and great change in the government carried out violently or illegally by the ruling power.’

Although we borrowed the term from the Bastille-storming French, America has been involved in many coups d’état, foreign and domestic, from the 1953 coup in Iran, to the botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Coups have been a popular scenario for films, from Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate, to White House Down and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. To peruse factual and fictional coups d’état stretching from the ancient world to the future, check out this list of coup d’état related books and films in our catalog.

Among the most disturbing coups in American history occurred in 1898 in the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, when an armed coalition of 2,000 white supremacists perpetrated the violent overthrow of the city government, unseating its racially integrated elected officials and replacing them with an all-white administration. At least 60 Black citizens were killed in the horrific coup d’état, just one of many vile and egregious acts of mob violence, lynching, Jim Crow laws and voter suppression efforts that swept the South and much of the North in the wake of Reconstruction, in an effort to disenfranchise Black voters, negate the outcome of the American Civil War and nullify the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Continue reading “America’s forgotten white supremacist coup d’état”

Rest and Retreat

I know solitude seems like the opposite of what you want to do right now, but solitude with a purpose such as rest could be highly beneficial, especially after this difficult year. There are also many forms of rest. Resting the mind for better sleep, retreating to rest and recharge, and finding solitude to create or come to terms our season of winter. 

Here are a few books in our collection that bring that idea of rest to mind:

Nothing Much Happens: Cozy and Calming Stories to Soothe your Mind and Help You Sleep by Kathryn Nicolai

While my insomnia has been more pregnancy related than not, I’ve been finding tools to help slow down my overthinking brain to make it not so miserable: heartburn tea, putting my phone away an hour before bed, and the most important tool, reading a physical book at bedtime. Based on the podcast this collection includes soothing new stories and adorable illustrations to help you sleep. Continue reading “Rest and Retreat”

Netflix and Read: The Queen’s Gambit

Just like with books, shows will also leave me wanting more. While The Queen’s Gambit is based on a book by Walter S. Tevis it’s also pretty darn popular right now, as anyone who has seen the show can probably imagine. So here are a few other diamonds in the rough to get you through…and fingers crossed for season two!

Lea by Pascal Mercier

Lea’s father does everything he can to grow Lea’s brilliance with the violin. Using it as an outlet after the death of her mother, Lea’s talent and fame grows exponentially, but the relationship with her father deteriorates. Told by a third-person narrator this novel delves into the madness of genius. Continue reading “Netflix and Read: The Queen’s Gambit”

Tales (and Recipes) for a Winter’s Night

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yuletide, Winter Solstice – no matter the form it takes – tales and food so often play a part. Stories of memories, tales passed on from generation to generation, and recipes too following down the line from grandmother, to daughter, to granddaughter, to great-grandson. The ties that bind us during the holiday season whether near or far or a picture of remembrance that sits upon the mantel. 

Here are a few books in our collection to get you started on making those traditions: 

The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Winter by Nigel Slater

A stunning read by author and food writer Nigel Slater, who has more than a few foodie books in our collection. From November to February, Nigel will take you through his winter rituals with folktales, recipes, and personal stories and gorgeous photographs. Truly an ode to winter! Continue reading “Tales (and Recipes) for a Winter’s Night”

Working it Out: From Emancipation to Economic Independence

After centuries of receiving no or minuscule compensation (by being hired out) for their labor, formerly enslaved people, at the stroke of a pen, were responsible for their own livelihood.

Seamstresses, servants, cooks, carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights and masons could ply their trade. Most, however, of this country’s enslaved workforce had been deployed to cultivate monocrops. No matter their occupation, they were responsible for negotiating wages, securing housing, paying rent, purchasing supplies, buying and/or growing their own food, clothing themselves and their families.  After centuries of laws that denied them literacy, property and ownership of their own bodies and those of their children, thousands of people were thrust into a world that did not welcome their newly acquired status.

Continue reading “Working it Out: From Emancipation to Economic Independence”