Charles Curtis, America’s first mixed-race Veep

Kamala Harris is breaking barriers with her election to the Vice Presidency, however, she was not the first person of color to achieve that office.

Obscured along the decades, Charles Curtis, a United States Senator who was a one-eighth Native American member of the Kaw Nation of Kansas, was elected to serve as Vice President with President Herbert Hoover 92 years ago. They had been political rivals for the Republican nomination for the top spot, and when Hoover won the nomination, political fortunes moved Curtis to the second spot, even though they did not get on with each other and represented different wings of the party. They were elected in 1928.

Using the slogan “from Kaw tepee to Capitol,”  Curtis celebrated his rise from a childhood Kaw reservation, speaking Kansa before speaking English, to the center of white America’s political establishment. Beginning in the 1880s, Curtis worked his way up the political ladder, always emphasizing and celebrating his heritage. Continue reading “Charles Curtis, America’s first mixed-race Veep”

Book-It Repertory Theatre’s MY ÁNTONIA: Beyond the Theatre

Book-It Repertory Theatre presents MY ÁNTONIA by Willa Cather, adapted and directed by Annie Lareau, from November 29 to December 30, 2018. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, video, and podcasts to enhance your experience of the show.

photo of lead actors in Book-It's production of My Antonia

book cover image for My AntoniaAnnie Lareau, director of Book-It Repertory Theatre’s 2018 production of MY ÁNTONIA, has a long history with the book. Lareau wrote the theatrical adaptation of Willa Cather’s classic novel and starred in the premiere of the work at Book-It in 2008. My Ántonia is the story of a young immigrant arriving in the Great Plains at the close of the 19th century. Lareau used “her dog-eared copy of the book” to write the adaptation, rediscovering “her own adolescent markings of passages she thought were important… ‘It’s Ántonia’s spirit that gets me,’ Lareau said, ‘so open-hearted, she comes to this country under really difficult circumstances and is a survivor. For all her hardships, she always comes back to that mix of fierceness and hope.’” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Continue reading “Book-It Repertory Theatre’s MY ÁNTONIA: Beyond the Theatre”

Seattle Rep’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY: Beyond the Theatre

Poster image for Seattle Rep's A People's HistorySeattle Repertory Theatre presents A PEOPLE’S HISTORY by Mike Daisey, from October 17 to November 25, 2018. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and video to enhance your experience of the show: Seattle Rep’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY: BEYOND THE THEATRE.

Through his discovery of Howard Zinn’s classic work, A People’s History of the United States, public Monologist Mike Daisey has discovered the narrative power of historians to shape events to suit the purposes of their stories.   The narrator can affect our collective understanding of the story. Continue reading “Seattle Rep’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY: Beyond the Theatre”

ACT’s Until the Flood: Beyond the Theatre

policACT (A Contemporary Theatre) presents UNTIL THE FLOOD by Dael Orlandersmith from June 8 to July 8, 2018. UNTIL THE FLOOD focuses on the social unrest following the fatal police shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and films to enhance your experience of the show: ACT’s UNTIL THE FLOOD: Beyond the Theatre  

The names and places, unfortunately, are tragically familiar: Ferguson, Trayvon, Baltimore, Philando, Tamir, Baton Rouge, and Charles Kinseythe list goes on. How can we take it in? What does it mean? How can we comprehend?

Obie Award winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Dael Orlandersmith is bringing her work, UNTIL THE FLOOD, to ACT, with her quest of understanding how we got here and what it signifies. Focusing on Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown, the one-act drama uses eight composite characters from the area to explore issues of race, social unrest, and political power. The characters all are working to find their standpoint with racial matters in our society, but from a personal level, ranging from teenagers to seniors, and from anger to reflection. Continue reading “ACT’s Until the Flood: Beyond the Theatre”

Bird Week: Mythology and Birds

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for the first ever Seattle Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s tenth anniversary.

Throughout human mythology, birds fly with us, inspire us, sing to us, and explain the natural world to us.

Image from the British Museum.

Consider the ancient Greeks using the idea of a bird to teach moral lessons. Imagine you are Icarus, that legendary character, who wearing wings made of wax and bird feathers, are leaping off a tower of imprisonment in sunny Crete. Free, you soar higher and higher into the clear blue skies, despite being warned not to do that by Daedalus, your famously clever father, who designed the wings after he studied birds in flight. Unbound from constraint, gravity, and the plodding limits of your own nature, you are rapturous with the joy of flight, and ignore his admonitions, to your peril. View the full story in this streamed video from our website. Continue reading “Bird Week: Mythology and Birds”