Library exhibit highlights African-American history

<p class="p1">Mounds Public Library has been showcasing local African-Americans to celebrate during Black History Month, which is commemorated in February. </p><p class="p1">Instead of showcasing more well-known African-Americans, such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King, the library has on exhibit African-Americans from Pulaski and Alexander counties who have made great contributions to American history. </p><p class="p1">There are several displays throughout the library, located at 418 1st St. in Mounds.</p><p class="p1">On display is an article from 1906 about Charles L. Rice, an African-American attorney who practiced law in Pulaski County and served as city attorney for Mound City. </p><p class="p1">Rice is said to be the first African-American who has ever held the office of master in chancery of the circuit court in the United States. </p><p class="p1">"Up From Slavery" is an article written by Samuel Parker Gardner giving sketches of his life. </p><p class="p1">Gardner was born into slavery in 1857 in Tennessee. He was put on the auction block and sold when he was 4, emancipated at 8 and came to Mounds in 1870. Gardner became a school teacher and taught school in Tamms and Ullin.</p><p class="p1">The exhibit also includes articles on the Chambliss families (Hugo, Dr. Homer and others,) R.W. England (known to many as Judge England, although he was a justice of  the peace), Owen H. Whitfield, A.T. Sealy, Dr. A.L. Robinson,  Allen "Memphis" Johnson  (owner/operator of the famous Southern Illinois Nite Club in Mounds and owner of a very famous baseball team,) and residents of Chapel Hill Bottom.</p><p class="p1">There is also an exhibit on the First Lady Of The United States of America, Michelle Obama. There is belief that she has relatives in Pulaski County.</p><p class="p1">Other exhibits has pictures of  educators, schools, graduating classes and the first African-American mayors in Pulaski and Alexander counties. </p><p class="p1">The Mounds Public Library Board voiced appreciation to many contributors to this exhibit; to Darrell Dexter, a local historian and author, for the researched articles; to the Mounds African-American Museum for the loan of the pictures; and  to Carolyn-Bolles Allen for the loan of the Afrocentric artifacts.</p><p class="p1">The Mounds Public Library is open on Monday through Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.</p><p class="p1">The president of the library's board of directors, Betty Green, said the library offers a lot of services to the community including computer classes, knitting classes and a genealogy room.</p><p class="p1">A library card is free to citizens of Mounds and $20 per year for everyone else. The library is open to the public, including residents who reside outside of Pulaski County.</p>


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