A Respite on the Farm: Langston Hughes Library Plays Role as Culture Keeper. (Black History Month)

By Abif, Khafre K. | American Libraries, February 2002 | Go to article overview

A Respite on the Farm: Langston Hughes Library Plays Role as Culture Keeper. (Black History Month)


Abif, Khafre K., American Libraries


Nestled on an eastern Tennessee farm once owned by Roots author Alex Haley is the Langston Hughes Library, a private, noncirculating, 5,000-volume reference collection and reading room dedicated in 1999. The library supports the mission of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and its companion organization, the Black Community Crusade for Children. Named in honor of the Harlem Renaissance poet/novelist (1902-1967), the library is used for research, reflection, and inspiration by children's advocates, spiritual leaders, educators, civil-rights leaders, authors, illustrators, publishers, scholars, and college and high school students who come to the 157-acre retreat in Clinton, Tennessee, for training and leadership development.

In order to help fulfill its mission, the CDF, a nonprofit organization founded by Marian Wright Edelman in 1973, purchased the Alex Haley farm to serve as an incubator for the CDF's "Leave No Child Behind" movement. It is used as a conference and training center for spiritual, character, and leadership development; interdisciplinary and interracial communication; and intergenerational mentoring. To date, more than 11,000 people have been guests at the farm. Housed in a "smoke-free, drug-free, hate-free" environment, the farm also includes six guesthouses, a business center/storage building, a ropes course, a large pond, and a gazebo. In the future, CDF plans to add an interfaith chapel and Outward Bound training camp for children's advocates.

The library is housed in a former 1860s cantilever barn--in which a standard-looking shed is perched above two rough log cribs--that was restored and redesigned as a contemporary sky-lit reading room by Maya Lin, the architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It includes the Maya Angelou and John Hope Franklin Reading Room named in honor of the poet/novelist and historian, respectively. The sitting area is named in honor of civil rights heroine Rosa Parks.

"Building the library is the fulfillment of a lifetime full of dreams," Barnes and Noble Chief Executive Officer Len Riggio said at the 1999 dedication. Riggio and his wife, Louise, donated the money to build the library. "Not only does it satisfy the donor's normal inclination to give something back, but also for me it appeals to my desire to make something happen. Indeed, this library on this historic site promises to make something happen for future generations of young intellectuals and scholars. Here, many will shape their thoughts, then add their own voices to the rich culture of the African-American experience."

The library includes a specialized collection of children's literature, works by authors and illustrators of African descent, and about black experiences, child advocacy, African-American culture, fine arts, history, literature, spirituality, the Civil Rights Movement with particular attention to the role of women, and the history of nonviolent social protest. Special highlights of the library holdings include CDF's publications, the Freedom School collection used in coordination with an annual summer program for children, federal government studies on child welfare dating back to the early 1900s, and rare and signed first editions of poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks and Nikki Giovanni as well as many other authors and illustrators. The library has begun acquiring original manuscripts of seminal children's works, including Hush by Jacqueline Woodson and Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence: The Story of New York's African Burial Ground by Joyce Hansen.

In October 2000 I was invited, along with 40 others, to attend a CDF Langston Hughes Library Roundtable meeting of black children's book authors and illustrators, scholars, librarians, editors, and publishers. The energy generated by the participants and CDF staff was life-changing. When I left the two-and-a-half-day discussion of children's literature and how each of us could play a part in CDF's movement to "Leave No Child Behind," I was renewed and spiritually refreshed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Respite on the Farm: Langston Hughes Library Plays Role as Culture Keeper. (Black History Month)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.