Happy Juneteenth!

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

June 19, 1865 — the day that word of slavery’s end reached Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation — is now celebrated today as Juneteenth, America’s second independence day. (read more from the Smithsonaian Magazine, “Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day.”

Check out this talk about Juneteenth by faculty member Amani Wazwaz:

Flag Day – June 14, 2019

Celebrate Flag Day by checking out some of our resources! We have:

  • Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers: eBook Clint Eastwood film based on book “In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima–and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island’s highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag. Now the son of one of the flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever. To his family, John Bradley never spoke of the photograph or the war. But after his death at age seventy, his family discovered closed boxes of letters and photos. In Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley draws on those documents to retrace the lives of his father and the men of Easy Company. Following these men’s paths to Iwo Jima, James Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacific’s most crucial island–an island riddled with Japanese tunnels and 22,000 fanatic defenders who would fight to the last man. But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is what happened after the victory. The men in the photo–three were killed during the battle–were proclaimed heroes and flown home, to become reluctant symbols. For two of them, the adulation was shattering. Only James Bradley’s father truly survived, displaying no copy of the famous photograph in his home, telling his son only: ‘The real heroes of Iwo Jima were the guys who didn’t come back.’ Few books ever have captured the complexity and furor of war and its aftermath as well as Flags of Our Fathers. A penetrating, epic look at a generation at war, this is history told with keen insight, enormous honesty, and the passion of a son paying homage to his father. It is the story of the difference between truth and myth, the meaning of being a hero, and the essence of the human experience of war.”–Publisher description.
  • A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols by Tim Marshall: “A nation’s flag fluttering in the wind is a sign of power, hope, history, and often war. However, we rarely stop to consider the complex meaning and strong sentiments flags evoke and embody today. From the renewed nationalism of China, to political conflicts in Europe and America, to the terrifying rise of ISIS, the world is a confusing place place right now, and we need to understand the symbols, old and new, that people are rallying around and fighting over. Forthousands of years flags have stood for our identities and ideals. We wave them, burn them, and march under their colors. And still, in the twenty-first century, we die for them. Flags fly at the UN, on the Arab street, from front porches in Texas. They represent the politics of high power as well as the passions of the mob. In ‘A Flag Worth Dying For,’ Tim Marshall–author of the New York Times bestseller ‘Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World’, called ‘quite simply, one of the best books about geopoliticies you could imagine’ (London Evening Standard)–returns to the arena of global affairs, combining keen analysis of current events with world history to reveal the power and politics of the symbols that both unite and divide us. In nine chapters covering America, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, international banners, and flags of terror, Marshall offers insights into the flags of more than eighty-five countries, among them key global superpowers as well as dozens of smaller nations, and shows how their hidden histories figure in the diplomatic relations and political movements of today’s urgent headlines.”–Book jacket

We also have some nice resources for kids in our Juvenile Collection:

  • Exploring our nation. American symbols of freedom – DVD “What’s the story behind some of America’s symbols of liberty? Some of the icons discussed include: the American Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Great Seal of the United States, and the origins of ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ Students also learn the story of the Statue of Liberty and the importance of Independence Hall in Philadelphia in establishing the country. A new symbol of American freedom is Freedom Tower in New York which was built after the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001. Part of the series Exploring Our Nation.”–Publisher description
  • Why are there stripes on the American flag? by Martha E. H. Rustad – eBook “Children learn about the American flag, discussing the history of the flag, what the stars, stripes, and colors represent and what the pledge of allegiance means.”–eReadIllinois.
  • We love our flag by Jean Feldman and Holly Karapetkova – eBook “Introduces the American flag and what it stands for through a song sung to the tune of ‘The Farmer in the Dell.'”–eReadIllinois.

June Is Audiobook Appreciation Month

If you have never tried an audiobook format, June is the perfect month. Besides the fact that June is “Audiobook Appreciation Month,” it is also the start of summer vacations. If you are looking for something to listen to while traveling, try out an audiobook. If a hardcover format of a book is on a L-O-N-G library holds list, try out the audiobook version.

During the month of June, we will highlight some audiobook choices that may be of interest to you. This week, it is Hamilton: The Revolution, read by Mariska Hargitay, Lin-Manuel Miranda, & Jeremy McCarter.

This audiobook “gives listeners an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter… traces [the show’s] development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later.”


Hamilton closes here in Chicago on January 5th, 2020, so if you have gone to see it, or are going before the close, check out this audiobook about the famous musical play.

New to Collection: The Life of Frederick Douglass Graphic Novel

New to the collection is a graphic novel biography, The Life of Frederick Douglass, written by David F. Walker with art by Damon Smyth. It tells the story of Douglass’s life through beautiful illustrations. He lived during the 19th century, was born into slavery in Maryland, learned to read even though it was forbidden to slaves, and ended up becoming one of America’s greatest writers. He worked to abolish slavery and believed in the equality of all. He also was one of the most photographed Americans of the 19th century, even more so than Abraham Lincoln! “Frederick Douglass was acutely aware of the fact that photographs could be used to help define his image in the public eye and, as a result, also influence how white people viewed blacks. In many pictures, his eyes are cast directly at the camera, an uncommon practice at the time, which resulted in a seemingly defiant expression” (Walker, p. 99). His photos were taken without him smiling because he didn’t want to portray “the racist caricature of a ‘happy slave’” (Wikipedia).

If you are not a fan of the graphic novel medium, a biography is a good way to try it out because the illustrations really bring the person’s story to life, which is helpful when learning about historical subjects. It’s not unlike how “Hamilton the Musical” resonated with people and presented a different way of re-telling history, so, too can a graphic novel achieve the same.

Frederick Douglass in MVCC’s collection:

Remembering Tony Horwitz’s Visit to MVCC

We were saddened to learn about the death of author Tony Horwitz.

In 2012, Horwitz visited campus as our One Book, One College author. He spoke to several hundred students and members of the public. He spoke about his book on abolitionist John Brown. We do not have a video of his talk but you can listen to his talk here: Tony Horwitz talks about Midnight Rising & Confederates in the Attic at Moraine Valley.

The 75th Anniversary of D-Day

June 6, 2019 marks the start of the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy, France.

Check out the MVCC catalog and the MVCC History Database to find out more about this important era in American history.

Also, you may want to look at these websites.

Pritzker Military Museum & Library
The National WWII Museum
Cantigny Park-First Division Museum

“From D-day through August 21, the Allies landed
more than two million men in northern France and suffered more than 226,386 casualties: 72,911 killed/missing and 153,475 wounded.”

HBO’s Chernobyl Miniseries

Chernobyl (2019) | Official Trailer | HBO

HBO started airing a miniseries on the world’s worst nuclear accident that occurred in 1986, at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Russia. Emily Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed to solving the mystery of what led to the Chernobyl disaster so that it doesn’t happen again.

Whether this type of accident occurred in Russia, or more recently as 2011 in Fukushima, Japan, the dramatized story shows the cost of political governments hiding truths from their own citizens.

If you’ve been watching Chernobyl Monday nights on HBO and want to do more research, we have some interesting resources on the subject. If you haven’t been watching, you should really check it out!

Chernobyl resources in our collection

Emily Watson on Why HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ Is a Cautionary Tale for Our Times

World War I a Century Later (videos)

The first World War has slipped away from a current event to a piece of history. It set the stage for the entire 20th Century. Our Library & the college’s History Department marked 100th anniversary of the war’s start (in 2014) and the 100th anniversary of the war’s end with the two events below (in 2019).

How did the Great War Shape the 20th Century? A Faculty Panel Discussion
We will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I with a discussion of the significance of this immense and horrific global conflict. Moraine Valley History faculty members will discuss the wide-reaching implications of the conflict in terms of life on the front, life on the home front, and the enduring wounds that continued long after the war.

World War I in American Memory: The Legacy of the Forgotten War
Associate Professor of History Josh Fulton tackles the legacy of the Great War. A conflict often forgotten in recent decades due to shifting US interests and the importance of World War II, he argues that it’s a powerfully significant event for understanding the world in the 21st century.

The Cathedrals of Europe

The flames that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral have died out but the ramifications of this disaster will be analyzed by historians for years to come. This cathedral and numerous other cathedrals are recognized for their historical and cultural significance by the  UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Want more information on this fascinating topic?  Check out the MVCC catalog.  One book that I would highly recommend is the historical novel, Pillars of the Earth.  We have numerous titles to choose from if you prefer non-fiction.   Also, our historical databases have informative articles that  explain the intricacies of medieval churches.

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, promises that Notre Dame will rise from the ashes in the next five years.  Vive Notre Dame!