For those who don’t know, February is a month set aside during the year to celebrate black history in the United States. One of the things Union has tried to do for the past few years to celebrate is set up a table in the library dedicated to African-American authors. Library student worker Gabrielle Nappi, a freshman English major, set up the tables this year. She gave us a quick interview.
Kayla Miller: How many displays are in the library?
Gabrielle Nappi: We actually have displays on both floors of the library this year. Upstairs we have a mix of fiction, non-fiction and some poetry written by prominent African-American authors. And downstairs we have our poster board with the photos and quotes of some leaders in American history, with books that focus more on history beneath.
KM: What made you select the books you did for the display?
GN: I was trying to get the most broad variety of books possible that could fit within a 40-50 book display. I know the first thing that comes to mind book-wise when you think of Black History Month are the biographies/autobiographies of Martin Luther King Jr., Barack and Michelle Obama, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks—which of course we have on display—but alongside the history books we have out, I thought it was important to show some of the amazing graphic novels, poetry, fiction and non-fiction written by authors of color in our library.
KM: What is significant about Black History Month to you and why do you believe it’s important?
GN: We should not be allowed to forget everything that had to be accomplished for there to be a Black History Month in the first place. It’s important that we take the time to recognize the people who went unnoticed for too long.
KM: Of all the books in the display, which is your favorite and why?
GN: My favorite book on display right now is probably March: Book One, by John Lewis. It's a biography written in graphic novel form, detailing his life as one of the key figures in the Civil Rights Movement. The story is amazing by itself, but the art really sets it apart for me.
KM: Will the library be doing any other activities for Black History Month?
GN: The Heritage Room is actually working on getting together pictures of Union’s first students of color and what they participated in while here. It will be posted to the Library’s social media, so look out for that on Instagram and Facebook if you’re interested.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the displays and maybe even a book from the library, now would be a great time to do so. Gabrielle also highlighted some other upcoming events to look forward to. “The first week of every month we change out our book displays downstairs, so things are constantly rotating. Next month is Women’s History Month, so we’ll do another display for that, and since there's no shortage of amazing female authors there will be plenty of items for people to look through!”
Visit the library, there’s lots to discover!
Kayla Miller is a junior studying nursing.