DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

Stonecrest Library

Oct 5 2012

Building Common Ground

by Patricia D

I’m really not accustomed to having culturally important landmarks in my backyard.  We did have the home of Louis Bromfield near where I grew up,  as well as the Ohio State Reformatory, site of the films Tango & Cash (ah yes, such a great film) and the Shawshank Redemption.  OSR is no longer a maximum security prison but it is a terrifying Haunted House.  Folks come from all over the Midwest and Middle Atlantic and pay to get into the place Kurt Russell and Tim Robbins worked so hard to escape.  Even though organizers could get by with just handing over a flashlight and sending you into the abandoned cell block (no joke, that place is seriously creepy, and not in a Scooby Doo  way) they go all out with decorating, actors  and animatronics.  That,  on top of actually being in an old prison (lots of bad energy in those walls), makes for a really good show, if you’re into that sort of thing.  So that’s my hometown’s  claim to cultural significance .  I had to move to Georgia just to up the ante.  Now I can claim all sorts of things,  including the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, part of which is in southeastern DeKalb County.  It is one of only 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States.

There are two huge things that make Arabia Mountain so special, neither of which is that it was one of the locations for the movie Pet Sematary II.   One is the ecosystem on Arabia Mountain itself.  Animals such as lichen grasshoppers, marbled and spotted salamanders, coachwhip and hognose snakes, great- horned owls, deer and bobcats make their home on the monadnock.  It is home to the world’s largest population of  Isoetes melanospora (black spotted quillwort), a Federally protected plant.  It’s also home to the rare Small’s Stonecrop, a plant that makes a living out of almost nothing.  There are also the the less rare, but lovely,  Sunnybells, Sparkleberry, Yellow Daisy, Fringetree and Georgia Oak.

The second reason Arabia Mountain is so special is the people.  The area has been inhabited for thousands of years—Native Americans, Scots immigrants, Trappist Monks—but it is the Flat Rock community, established by freed slaves, that will be the focus of Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, a series of programs at the DeKalb County Public Library that will celebrate the history, diversity and preservation of the community.

Flat Rock began as a small area south of what would become I-20.  It was an agricultural community  bordered by three small slave-holding farms and grew after the  Civil War into a bustling community of churches, schools, and civic organizations.  It thrived for decades, done in finally by the Great Migration and the Great Depression.  It is also the site of one of the few intact slave cemeteries left in Georgia. Today it provides a glimpse into the lives of freed slaves and their descendants.

Building Common Ground is funded by a grant from the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute.  DCPL’s partners include the Arabia Mountain Heritage Alliance, the Flat Rock Archives and Museum and Arabia Mountain High School.  The four programs will be hosted by the amazing staff at the Stonecrest Library. You may also listen to interviews with community members on the Building Common Ground page conducted by StoryCorps.

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Nov 2 2011

40 acres…

by Dea Anne M

This year marks the sesquicentennial, i.e. 150th anniversary, of the onset of the United States Civil War and the Stonecrest branch of DCPL will be hosting a special event to help mark this very important period in American history. On Saturday, November 5th at 12:00 pm the exhibit Forty Acres and More: African Americans and the Civil War will open at Stonecrest with a reception and the unveiling of the exhibit. The exhibit is an impressive collection of documents, pictures, newspapers, and other historic items collected by local historian and former NBA player Mike Glenn and documents the African American presence and participation in the Civil War.  Documents include minutes from the Philadelphia Negro Convention of 1833 and Fredrick Douglass’ speech “Men of Color to Arms.” You’ll find more information at the Mike Glenn Foundation (www.mikeglenn.com) but be sure not to miss this important exhibit!

Are you interested in learning more about the presence and influence of African Americans in the Civil War? Check out these resources at DCPL.

Firebrand of Liberty: the story of two Black regiments that changed the course of the Civil War by Stephen V. Ash tells the story of the seizure of Jacksonville in 1863 by nine hundred African American Union soldiers. Although the mission was deemed a failure at the time, the regiments’  success in holding off the Confederate forces was part of what persuaded Lincoln to begin full-scale recruitment of Black troops, a measure which almost certainly changed the course of the war.

The well-received  Like Men of War: Black troops in the Civil War by Noah Andre Trudeau uses original source material and a unique narrative style to tell the intimate stories of the thousands of brave and determined men who took up arms.

Did you know that as many as one in six Union navy sailors was African American? Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy by Steven Ramold pulls from diaries, court documents and other source material to document the enormous contribution that African Americans made to the naval effort. This book also features rare photographs of the daily lives of these sailors.

Young history buffs will also want to research this interesting topic. Till Victory is Won: black soldiers in the Civil War by Zak Mettger and Black, Blue, and Gray: African Americans in the Civil War by Jim Haskins are two good sources.

… and for a night at home with a DVD, please consider Glory starring Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, Denzel Washington, and Matthew Broderick. The film was nominated for many major awards and won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Sound. As well, Denzel Washington won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his stirring performance as Private Trip. Not to be missed!

 

 

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Jun 15 2011

Stonecrest has arrived!

by Dea Anne M

DCPL’s newest branch is finally open! It is, of course, the Stonecrest branch located at 3123 Klondike Road in Lithonia. The library is beautiful and well worth coming by just to see, but be sure to check out the collection as well. Tons of great titles are now available and waiting for you!

While you’re in the area, don’t miss any of the other attractions that this part of the county has to offer. The Stonecrest Mall is right down the road from the library and offers tons of delicious shopping opportunities and dining options as well as entertainment. Also nearby is Arabia Mountain Heritage Area which includes a great multi-use trail and a beautiful nature preserve. Just a short drive away in Conyers is the Monastery of the Holy Spirit a contemplative order of Trappists monks. The monastery creates bonsai and bonsai products for sale as well as stained glass. Retreats and group visits are available, and while you probably won’t talk to any of the monks (the order takes vows of silence), you can soak in the beauty and peace that abounds here.

Not an attraction per se, but definatly worth knowing about, is the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort located at 4158 Klondike Road. These folks are dedicated to wild animal rescue and rehabilitation so if you find an injured or lost animal you will know who to contact.

So get yourself to Lithonia soon and check it all out!

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