Monday, August 31, 2009

A New Chapter

This year, one of the many activities during Take Flight was a discussion of Ralph Eubanks' book The House at the End of the Road. About 25 new students, librarians, orientation leaders, and Student Affairs staff met on Friday afternoon for a lively and thoughtful discussion of the book. We're inviting students who participated in the discussion to continue the discussion through our blog.

Ralph Eubanks will be speaking on campus on September 28, thanks to Robert Robinson, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Affairs.


Jill said...

This book was the perfect blend of history and just good literature. It was strange for me to read a novel that was so historical yet still be entertained. The discussion was very thought-provoking and interesting. I love it here at Montevallo, and I am so glad Eubanks will be coming here!

Patsy Sears said...

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Two newlyweds are fighting for the dismissal of the justice of the peace who refused them a marriage license because they are of different races.

A Louisiana justice of the peace refused to perform a marriage for Beth and Terence McKay.

"We've retained an attorney, and we're in the process of taking the next steps in order to make sure that (the justice of the peace) loses his job," Beth McKay told CNN's "American Morning" on Monday.

She and her husband, Terence McKay, stepped into the national spotlight when Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward, refused them a license.

They ultimately got a marriage license from another justice of the peace in the same parish.

Despite a national uproar and a call by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for him to lose his license, Bardwell, 56, said he has no regrets. "It's kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven't done wrong," he told CNN affiliate WAFB on Saturday.

He insisted he is not racist and does not treat black people differently. He said he does not perform mixed-race marriages because he is concerned about the children of such marriages.

Bardwell did not return calls from CNN.

Beth McKay, 30, said she was speaking with Bardwell's wife by phone about getting a marriage license and was "shocked" to be asked whether they are an interracial couple. Watch how justice's decision shocked couple »

"She said, 'Well, what's the deal? Is he black, or are you black?' And so I answered her question, and then she just said, 'Well, we don't do interracial marriages.'"

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Terence McKay, 32, told CNN, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but he's absolutely wrong on all aspects of his stance." McKay added, "If it wasn't for interracial couples today, we wouldn't have our president. So for him to take that outlook, that's still like 1800s or something."

"A lot of people have come up to us and said, 'You know, we're in interracial relationships as well,' not just black and white, and just encouraged us to stand up for our rights and to speak out against things like this," Beth McKay said.

The incident "caught us completely off guard," said Terence McKay, "and we're just trying to live our lives."

The National Urban League called for an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, saying in a statement that Bardwell's actions were "a huge step backward in social justice."

The U.S. Supreme Court tossed out race-based limitations on marriage in the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case. In the unanimous decision, the court said that "Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."
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Patsy Sears said...

Obituary in the New York Times:
Rabbits' Wedding

Emily Wheelock Reed, an Alabama librarian castigated by segregationists in 1959 for defending a children's book about the love between a white rabbit and a black rabbit, died May 19 at a retirement community in Cockeysville, Md. She was 89.

Reed was state librarian during a turbulent period in the South when blacks' struggles for equality stirred ferocious resistance from whites. Blacks were fighting for equal access to many areas of public life, including schools and libraries.

When Garth Williams' book "The Rabbits' Wedding" was published by Harper and Row in 1958, the White Citizens Council in Alabama attacked it as "communistic" and promoting racial integration.

The council newsletter criticized the story in a front-page article headlined "What's Good Enough for Rabbits Should Do for Mere Humans." The campaign against the book and Reed was led by Alabama state Sen. E.O. Eddins, who called the tale propaganda for integration and intermarriage.

Reed said she liked the book but removed it from general circulation. She said her action, which made the book available to local librarians upon request, fell short of a ban.

"We have had difficulty with the book, but we have not lost our integrity," she said, explaining her decision to put the book in the reserve stacks.

Reed continued as state librarian, but only for a short while longer. Later in 1959 she again invoked the ire of segregationists when she distributed a reading list that included "Stride to Freedom," a story about the Montgomery bus boycott, written by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

That provoked the Alabama Legislature to consider a law that would require the state librarian to be an Alabama native and a graduate of the University of Alabama or Auburn University. It would have disqualified Reed, who was born in Asheville, N.C., and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University.

In January, 1960, Reed resigned to become a library consultant in Washington, where she remained for six years. From about 1966 until her retirement in 1977 she was coordinator of adult services at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.

Earlier this year she was honored by the American Library Association, which offered "belated gratitude" for her "tenacious and ... extraordinary effort to stand up to segregationist state legislators." She had no immediate survivors.