Black History Month: Spotlight

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Adam Hochschild’s awardwinning, hearthaunting account of the brutal plunder of the Congo by Leopold II of Belgium presents a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a royal figure as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of Shakespeare’s great villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave, committed handful of idealists, missionaries, travelers, diplomats, and African villagers who found themselves witnesses to and, in too many instances, victims of a holocaust.

In the late 1890s, Edmund Dene Morel, a young British shipping company agent, noticed something strange about the cargoes of his company’s ships as they arrived from and departed for the Congo, Leopold II’s vast new African colony. Incoming ships were crammed with valuable ivory and rubber. Outbound ships carried little more than soldiers and firearms. Correctly concluding that only slave labor on a vast scale could account for these cargoes, Morel resigned from his company and almost singlehandedly made Leopold’s slavelabor regime the premier humanrights story in the world. Thousands of people packed hundreds of meetings throughout the United States and Europe to learn about Congo atrocities. Two courageous black Americans—George Washington Williams and William Sheppard—risked much to bring evidence to the outside world. Roger Casement, later hanged by Britain as a traitor, conducted an eyeopening investigation of the Congo River stations. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming over all was Leopold II, King of the Belgians, sole owner of the only private colony in the world. (From Houghton Mifflin Publishers)

• Finalist, 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction
• Winner, 1998 J. Anthony Lukas Prize

Read the original book review from the New York Times, 1998

Watch the film version on YouTube ($2.99 rental) or find it at your local video store, or on demand (perhaps??).

  • Purchase your own copy, or check out the ESA Library copy out on the Black History Month display on the upper level of the Library.
  • We have additional copies on the shelf in the History collection… check the ESA Library Catalogue.

Aboriginal Education Month

Elijah Harper, Oji-Cree politician, consultant, policy analyst (born 3 March 1949 at Red Sucker Lake, MB; died 17 May 2013 in Ottawa, ON). Harper is best known for the role he played in scuttling the Meech Lake Accord, for which he was named the Canadian Press newsmaker of the year for 1990.  Read the rest of this article at The Canadian Encyclopedia online.

Interested in learning more?  The Toronto Public Library has an extensive collection of holdings relating to the the Canadian Constitution, and the Meech Lake Accord in particular.

If you’re really keen on Canadian Constitutional drama, take yourself to the Toronto Reference Library where you can access Jacques Godbout’s documentary film The Black Sheep.

  • One of Quebec’s foremost documentarians and authors, Jacques Godbout discusses the qualities that differentiate Quebec from the rest of the country, the demise of the Meech Lake Accord and the future of the “black sheep” of Confederation.

If that’s not enough for you, you can also take in the sequel, The Black Sheep – Ten Years On at the same time.  The sequel:

  • Captures a society in flux following the demise of the Meech Lake Accord, creating a mirror for those living in Quebec and a window for the rest of Canada. Jacques Godbout investigates the issues and the personalities of the critical times in Quebec’s history. In doing so, he reveals the qualities that differentiate Quebec from the rest of the country.

 

 

 

National Canadian Film Day

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Celebrate National Canadian Film Day on April 20th, 2016.

Brought to you by the folks at REEL Canada and Cineplex.

Visit the ESA Library and take home a great Canadian Film for the night.  Featured titles include:

  • David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers
  • Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg
  • May Walsh’s Young Triffie
  • Bruce McDonald’s Highway 61
  • Claude Jutra’s Mon Oncle Antoine
  • Jacob Tierney’s The Trotsky
  • Remember Africville (NFB)
  • Ryan (NFB)

P.S.  Ms. Wray took the What Canadian Film Are You Quiz…  and the result was: Away From Her by Sarah Polley (no big surprise!!)