Tompkins County Public Library

Friday, September 26, 2014

150 Years and Counting: TCPL Continues Year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration

TCPL continues its year-long sesquicentennial celebration with a series of exhibits and related programs.

September 26 - 28 2014 A weekend-long exploration of Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War.

Friday, September 26,  5 – 7 pm
After-hours access to the traveling exhibit which inspired the Library’s celebration for an evening of art featuring self-guided tours of Lincoln:  The Constitution and the Civil War and its three companion exhibits, Montage Histories:  Tompkins County, New York, through Photographs 1864-2014, Tompkins County in a Time of War:  Life on the Home Front and on the Battlefield and Mightier than the Sword: The Impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

5:30 pm 
Cornell University’s Glee Club, under the direction of Robert Isaacs, will perform Toby Twining’s “Lincoln the Musician,” a dramatic and compelling interpretation of the Gettysburg Address.

7 pm  
Cinemapolis will present Civil Warriors, an original  film produced by PhotoSynthesis Productions about the first African American regiment and the Ithaca men who registered to fight in the Civil War.  A panel discussion moderated by Eric Acree, featuring narrator Professor Sean Eversley-Bradwell and co-producers/directors Che Broadnax and Deborah Hoard will be held immediately following the screening.

Saturday, September 27, 11 am - 2 pm 
A representative of TCPL’s Teen Advisory Group, portraying Abraham Lincoln, will serve as a docent providing mini tours of “Lincoln:  The Constitution and the Civil War.”

4 pm
Excerpts from  Uncle Tom’s Cabin, TCPL's featured book during Banned Books/Freedom to Read, will be read during the Tompkins County Public Library Foundation’s  Second Annual Readathon.

Sunday, September 28, 2 pm 
Elmira College Professor Charlie Mitchell will present “Re-reading Uncle Tom's Cabin after Django Unchained and Twelve Years a Slave,” an illustrated lecture.  This program will be held in the Library’s BorgWarner Community Room.

October - date to be decided
Edward E. Baptist, associate professor, Department of History, House Professor and Dean, Carl Becker House, Cornell University, will talk about Lincoln and the Civil War.

Wednesday October 22, 7 pm
“The Language of War,” an original dramatic reading presented by the Tompkins County Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission will offer a local perspective on life in Tompkins County during the Civil War and capture the drama of the era.

Separate blogs about each exhibit will follow.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Screening of Civil Warriors at Cinemapolis part of Sesquicentennial Celebration

150 Years and Counting: Tompkins County Public Library Continues Year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration with presentation of Civil Warriors at Cinemapolis at 7 PM on Friday, September 26, after the opening reception for Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.

TCPL is proud to present the premier screening at Cinemapolis of Civil Warriors, a documentary film by Deborah C. Hoard and Che Broadnax that brings to life the true story of the 26 black men from Tompkins County who enlisted in the Civil War’s first regiment of African American soldiers.  

Their story begins on December 24, 1863 and unfolds as the rhythm and energy of contemporary spoken word performances mix with historical images and music. The film’s narrator, Sean Eversley-Bradwell, Ithaca College assistant professor, Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, provides historical and personal perspective 150 years after these men stepped up to wear the uniform of a country that called them “boy.”

A panel discussion moderated by Eric Acree, director of Cornell University’s Africana Library featuring Professor Bradwell and co-producers/directors Hoard and Broadnax will take place immediately following the screening.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War

As 2014 comes to an end, TCPL continues the celebration of its Sesquicentennial. 

The Library was founded during the upheaval of Civil War. Tompkins County sent volunteers, including 26 black men, to join the Union army and Ithaca was designated by New York State as a training and embarkation point.  Despite the uncertainties the economy flourished. Ezra Cornell proposed the creation of a free library in 1862, and legislation was passed on April 4, 1864 authorizing him “to found a public Library and Literary Institution in the village of Ithaca.” At the Library’s inauguration, Cornell stated “Fellow Citizens of Ithaca, this library belongs to you and to the other residents of the county of Tompkins.”

In honor of Ezra Cornell’s commitment to and recognition of community amidst the uncertainties of war, TCPL presents the American Library Association’s traveling exhibit Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, a thematic display that offers an intriguing perspective of the challenges America’s much-heralded 16th president faced during the Civil War. This timely exhibit describes Lincoln’s use of the Constitution as a guide for tackling the major issues of the war—secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.  
Secession vs. Union Illustration from Harper's Weekly1864

A series of panels placed in the Avenue of the Friends depict important themes: 
LINCOLN: his second inauguration and taking of the Oath of Office; 
DIVIDED: are we a single nation or a confederacy of sovereign and separate states?; BOUND: can slavery be uprooted by constitutional means?;  
DISSENT: the crisis of civil liberties: must civil liberties give way to save the nation?; ENDURES: leaves us with the question, “Has America lived up to the ideals Lincoln fought for -  Equality, Freedom, Democracy?”