All posts by marleen

Foreign-policy Journalist Stephen Kinzer Will be at the South End Library on Tuesday, May 9 at 6:30 PM to Discuss His Widely-reviewed Most Recent Treatise on US Relations Vis-a-Vis the Rest of the World, “The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire”

TUESDAY, MAY 9, 6:30 PM

Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer

Award-winning foreign-policy journalist and former New York Times bureau chief in multiple locations, Stephen Kinzer, will talk about his new book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire. This event is rescheduled from March 14, when a snowstorm closed the city down. In his latest examination of the US role abroad, Kinzer, a Senior Fellow in International and Foreign Affairs at the Watson Institute of Brown University,  reframes a perennial question raging again today: Should the US be an imperialist nation or take care of its own problems first? A longtime South End resident and the author of numerous books about the unintended consequences of American military intervention, (including All the Shah’s Men and The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and their Secret World War) Kinzer writes a regular column on foreign affairs for the  Boston Globe. This is his third appearance for the South End Writes series: He previously discussed his book about the Dulles brothers, and more recently a trip he and colleagues took through Iran, just before the nuclear containment agreement was signed. He will be introduced by his admirer and friend, WBUR’s OpenSource radio host, Christopher Lydon. Lydon interviewed him on the subject on February 7.

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TUESDAY, MAY 23, 6:30 PM

mkingThe iconic Mel King, former state legislator, school board member, community organizer, writer, poet, and the keeper of perhaps the largest memory bank of South End’s turbulent history. Raised in the New York streets part of the South End by immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados in the 1930s. Former adjunct professor in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and author of Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development and collections of poetry, and founder of the South End’s Technology Center at Tent City.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 6:30 PMsschorow

Stephanie Schorow, journalist, journalism teacher and author of many popular books about Boston’s amazing history, including The Crime of the Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston and The Cocoanut Grove Fire.

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ALL EVENTS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC. SEATING IS LIMITED. THE SOUTH END LIBRARY IS FULLY HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE.

Acclaimed Harvard Sociologist Sara Lawrence Lightfoot Will Be at the South End Library on Tuesday, April 18 at 6:30 PM to Tell You About Her Latest Work, “Growing Each Other Up: When Our Children Become Our Teachers”

sara ll posterIn March a year ago, the MacArthur Genius award-winning Professor of Sociology at Harvard, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, held the crowded room spellbound when, at the end of her talk about Exits: The Endings That Set Us Free, she SANG her goodbye to the audience with the Song of Jeremiah from Iliad. Will she sing us a farewell again on Tuesday, April 18 when she is back at the South End library with her most recent book, Growing Each Other Up: When Our Children become Our Teachers?

The longtime South End resident who by her own count lives 142 steps from the library, has made the developmental process of child-rearing in which parents are transformed by their children the subject of her latest book. It is based on many in-depth interviews across the country, and highlighted by her own experience of raising a son and a daughter. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Lawrence Lightfoot suggests that what is generally assumed to be the one-way support system that parents provide for their offspring is more likely an exchange, wherein parents learn from their children about the future they represent, the world they experience, and how that often doesn’t quite jive with what the parents have come to believe. Keeping our hearts open, is the mantra for good inter-generational relationships, she counsels.

Lawrence-Lightfoot is the Emily Hargroves Fisher professor of Education at Harvard University, and a fellow at the Bunting Institute and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.  The renowned sociologist’ books include, among others, Beyond Bias: Perspectives on Classrooms (1979) (with Jean Carew); The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Culture(1983), which received the 1984 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association; Balm In Gilead: Journey of A Healer (1988), which won the 1988 Christopher Award, for literary merit and humanitarian achievement; I’ve Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation (1994); and The Third Chapter: Risk, Passion, and Adventure in the Twenty-Five Years After 50 (2009). Upon her retirement from Harvard University, the endowed chair currently held by Lawrence-Lightfoot will officially become the Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Endowed Chair, making her the first African-American woman in Harvard’s history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor.

The South End Library is fully handicapped accessible. Seating is limited. The event is free. We offer refreshments. Books will be available for sale, signing, and borrowing from the library. 

 

 

 

The Easter Bunny Hosts the Ninth Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Library Park, Bringing Eggs Filled with Chocolates and Multi-lingual Poems and Knock-Knock Jokes, on Sunday, April 16 at 11:00 AM Sharp

The Field of Dreams on Easter Egg Hunt day in Library Park

The Field of Dreams on Easter Egg Hunt day in Library Park

We’ve made it through the winter when the South End library’s Easter Egg Hunt is upon us, and so it is, on Sunday April 16, at 11:00 AM at Library Park. The countdown will begin at 10:59 AM. It will be over by 11:05 AM.

The Easter Bunny will be ready for selfies

The Easter Bunny will be ready for selfies

The Parks Department has issued its permit and the Easter Bunny has been practicing hugs.  Some 1,400 Easter eggs are being filled this very minute with chocolate, candy, multi-lingual poems and knock-knock jokes. Balloons are ready for lift-off.  Area D4 police officers have been notified that families might need help crossing Tremont Street.  And volunteers are preparing the baked goods and refreshments. There will be a separate area for Tiny Tots. Some baskets are available for those who forgot to bring their own. The Easter Bunny always keeps some eggs aside for those who just didn’t get the hang of it in time.

 

 

Those Mysterious South End Knitters Will Install a Specially-designed Work of Urban Art in the South End Library’s Tremont Street Window in Early May

knit art 1They’ve been called guerrilla knitters,  graffiti knitters, stealth knitters, activist knitters and yarn bombers but most of all the women (and the occasional man) whose colorful fiber art has beautified fences, lampposts, bicycle posts and even trees see themselves as urban artists. In early May, the South End Knitters will do an installation in the South End library’s Tremont Street Window as part of the FOSEL Local/Focus project.se knitter

The knitters meet as a group, depending on weather and opportunity, in local gathering places and informal restaurants where pulling out yarn and needle immediately transforms the space into a more intimate one, and story-telling, writing postcards and  journals or simply having a conversation could be next on the menu. Some participants are old hands at knitting and specialize in  knitting art for the urban streetscape; others just started a few years ago; and a few create items for charitable organizations like PatPat Hats, that distributes little hats for children undergoing medical treatment.  Once-upon-a-time they met at Flour Bakery + Cafe on Washington Street, according to an excellent article in Boston.Com, but more recently they have come to the Prudential Center or BGood on Dartmouth Street on Thursdays after work.

se knitters 6According to a deCordova Museum press release (the South End Knitters participated in the museum’s 2012 deCordova Biennial) the South End Knitters are part of a legacy traced to Magda Sayeg, whose works with Knitta Please (founded in Houston in 2005) are credited with bringing sewing from the domestic circle to the street. “When they secretly slip their colorful hand-sewn creations on fences, statues, street signs, hydrants, bicycles, and buses under cover of darkness,” read the release, “they humanize and prettify the urban realm; they decorate, swaddle, and in some cases, protect. They call attention to the forms they cover and remind us about our relationship to our surroundings in ways that seem far more innocuous and temporary than their painted graffiti counterparts.”

The Avocado-pit Self of the West Versus the Flexi Self of the East: Prize-winning Author and Cultural Observer Gish Jen Suggests the More Communal Approach of the East Might Benefit the West’s Lone Ranger’s View of the World

Author Gish Jen talking about The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap

Author Gish Jen talking about The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap, her seventh book, and the second work of non-fiction on East-West identity divergences

Gish Jen, the author of  The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East West Culture Gap, drew a full room of people to the South End library eager to hear her take on the divergent views between East and West about the importance of the individual versus the  society he or she is a part of.  Jen, the winner of numerous prestigious awards and fellowships who has written five novels and two non-fiction books on the East-West cultural divide, suggests that, in the West, the individual sees the path to achievement and success as inextricably linked to the core self, as if it were  a “sacred avocado pit” to which one must remain true, and second in importance to the needs of community or family. Seeking that truth, moreover, is seen as a universal value, even though in most of the rest of the world a more communal view of individual achievement prevails and the idea of a “flexi-self” tends to be the norm: the ideal place to be is part of a group which, in turn, is associated with a sense of wholeness.

Gish Jen patiently signing copies of her book for her admirers, including some who drove in from New Hampshire through pouring rain.

Gish Jen patiently signing copies of her book for her admirers, including some who drove in from New Hampshire through pouring rain.

To illustrate her point, Jen showed two short videos,  one a monologue by a young American man talking about watching video games where the story plot celebrates male fighters surviving in a world where “everyone is screwing you,” a  profoundly anti-establishment message, Jen pointed out.  The second video was produced not too long ago in reaction to an incident at Columbia University, where  a group of Chinese students found their name tags ripped off their dorm doors one morning.  Titled “Say My Name, each student described what their Chinese names meant in English.  “My parents had great hopes for my future,” said one student whose Chinese name translated as Brightest Star in the Night Sky.  “My name reminds me of my roots,” said another, “the place where I came from, each time I say my name.”

Other examples of the East-West divide include the true story behind the proverbial girl at the baggage claim in which the sister of a young Chinese woman accepted at Milton Academy showed up to take her place at the school, an incident that led to accusations of fraud and caused changes in admissions rules at secondary schools. While Jen did not endorse the practice of attending a school impersonating a sibling, she explained that in Eastern cultures it is ok to help a family member because it benefits the group, even though it is seen as clumsy and wrong in the West, where individual achievement is preeminent.  The extreme focus on personal success has other negative consequences, Jen suggested, including for the American unemployed, for example, who believe not having a job is “their fault.” In Israel, she said, which is a more communally oriented society,  being unemployed is blamed on “the system.”

Herself the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Jen said she noticed that in the world of sports, winners of  Olympic medals from the West tend to describe their individual achievements as “showing what I could do,” while  non-Western winners generally make a point of thanking their coaches, friends and family, emphasizing, “I didn’t do it alone.” Jen, whose first book about the East-West cultural divide, Tiger Writing: Art Culture and the Independent Self, is based on the prestigious Massey Lectures she gave at Harvard University in 2012, made a point of complimenting New England Patriot football quarterback Tom Brady for consistently crediting his team for his achievements, even as it earned him the accusation of practicing ‘false modesty.’ “No false modesty,” she said, “He’s just Asian.”

 

gish j book covers

AUTHORS COMING UP NEXT AT THE SOUTH END LIBRARY:

TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 6:30 PM

sllightfootThe acclaimed sociologist Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, a MacArthur Genius Fellow, will be the first African-American woman to hold an endowed chair in her name at Harvard University upon her retirement. She has written nearly a dozen books, and will talk this time, her third appearance at the South End library, about her most recent one, Growing Each Other Up: When Our Children Become Our Teachers.

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TUESDAY, MAY 9, 6:30 PM

Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer

Award-winning foreign-policy journalist and former New York Times bureau chief in multiple locations, Stephen Kinzer, will talk about his new book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire. This event is rescheduled from March 14, when a snowstorm closed the city down. In his latest examination of the US role abroad, Kinzer reframes a perennial question raging again today: Should the US be an imperialist nation or take care of its own problems first? The author of numerous books about the unintended consequences of American military intervention, (including All the Shah’s Men and The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and their Secret World War) Kinzer is a senior fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute of Brown University and Boston Globe foreign affairs columnist. He will be introduced by his admirer and friend, WBUR’s OpenSource radio host, Christopher Lydon. Lydon interviewed him on the subject on February 7.

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TUESDAY, MAY 23, 6:30 PM

mkingThe iconic Mel King, former state legislator, school board member, community organizer, writer, poet, and the keeper of perhaps the largest memory bank of South End’s turbulent history. Raised in the New York streets part of the South End by immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados in the 1930s. Former adjunct professor in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and author of Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development and collections of poetry, and founder of the South End’s Technology Center at Tent City.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 6:30 PMsschorow

Stephanie Schorow, journalist, journalism teacher and author of many popular books about Boston’s amazing history, including The Crime of the Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston and The Cocoanut Grove Fire.

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ALL EVENTS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC. SEATING IS LIMITED. THE SOUTH END LIBRARY IS FULLY HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE.