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Various BPL locations
All Bridgeport Public Library locations will be closed Friday, July 4th – Sunday, July 6th for the Independence Day weekend.
The Federal Communications Commission, Washington DC
Currently, and since the beginning of the internet, the way we access content on the internet is ‘net neutral’ meaning the company that provides your internet connection, otherwise known as ‘service providers’ (cable, AT&T,) does not favor (deliver faster or more complete) one or a few content providers over others. The public gets equal access to all content and all who publish to the internet have the same chance of reaching the web-surfing public. In addition, the service provider cannot charge the public for accessing any one site.
In January 2014, FCC lost an important court case against Verizon that said the FCC couldn’t bar Verizon from charging fees to “edge providers” like Netflix and YouTube if customers wanted to watch the video services. (National Constitution Center)
On Thursday 5/15, the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) approved a plan that would:
- Allow the FCC to consider allowing “paid prioritization” –where content providers (Netflix, Hulu) can, for a price paid to the service provider, get a ‘fast lane to get their content to consumers. Critics contend that the cost will be passed on to consumers somehow, the rule will affect the chance of start-ups getting traction and promote monopolies in the information business.
- Allow the “FCC to pursue reclassifying broadband services as a public utility” according to the National Constitution Center. The FCC can regulate public utilities and make them provide equal service to all customers, including those providing content.
Neither provision changes any rules, just allows the FCC to consider such plans. Now is the time when people and institutions can comment on the proposed plans. The FCC will receive comments until Sept. 10, 2014.
Some issues and examples:
- Bloggers, manufacturers or filmmakers not affiliated with a large corporation, large content provider or service provider might not be able to get their view to the public.
- Can service providers discriminate against content providers that compete against their own content.
- Should a service provider have to provide enough bandwidth for all, equally, without charge even though video streaming services take up a greater portion of that bandwidth?
Some helpful links:
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Sign up online for summer reading. Read up to 15 books and receive great prizes!
Fun for the whole family!!
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Bridgeport Public Library All Locations
This essay contest, sponsored by Metrocrops is for students who will be in the 8th grade in September 2014 in a school located in Bridgeport, CT. This essay contest honors and celebrates the innovations that were part of Bridgeport’s proud industrial past.
The top three winners will receive brand new Kindle e-readers and Amazon gift cards to download books. Read more →
Families are invited to take part in our annual Bridgeport Public Library Summer Reading Kick-off program with master juggler Jester Jim! A crowd favorite.
This year’s theme is — Fizz? Boom! Read! With nothing more than a trunk full of props, Jester Jim will have you cracking up in your seat. Juggling, balancing, and beatboxing, this show is packed with fun and excitement.
Read more →
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6:00 - 8:00 PM
Black Rock Branch
Empowering Through Beauty
Empowering through Beauty prides itself in using beauty to help women see what their lives could be–empowering people to make positive change by offering practical life skills and hope. A different future is possible, and Empowering Through Beauty is helping to make it so.
For more info call: (203) 767-9264.
Reading Garden Now Open
The beautiful Black Rock Branch Reading Garden is now open Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 12:00 noon until library closing time and Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10:00 AM until closing. We will also be opening the garden on Saturdays in the very near future.
Big Library Read – A Pedigree to Die For by Laurien Berenson
BPL Library card holders will be able to borrow and read the mystery eBook, A Pedigree to Die For, Book 1 of the Melanie Travis Mystery Series by Laurien Berenson, starting June 3rd and concluding the morning of June 18th (US EST) with no wait lists or holds by clicking here.
The First Memorial Day
by Yale professor of history David W. Blight
(For)…the earliest and most remarkable Memorial Day, we must return to where the war began. By the spring of 1865, after a long siege and prolonged bombardment, the beautiful port city of Charleston, S.C., lay in ruin and occupied by Union troops. Among the first soldiers to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the 21st United States Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the city’s official surrender.
Whites had largely abandoned the city, but thousands of blacks, mostly former slaves, had remained, and they conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war.
The largest of these events, forgotten until I had some extraordinary luck in an archive at Harvard, took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the city’s Washington Race Course and Jockey Club into an outdoor prison. Union captives were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand.
After the Confederate evacuation of Charleston black workmen went to the site, reburied the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
The symbolic power of this Low Country planter aristocracy’s bastion was not lost on the freedpeople, who then, in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged a parade of 10,000 on the track. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”
The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.” Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.
After the dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantrymen participating were the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.
The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.
Despite the size and some newspaper coverage of the event, its memory was suppressed by white Charlestonians in favor of their own version of the day. From 1876 on, after white Democrats took back control of South Carolina politics and the Lost Cause defined public memory and race relations, the day’s racecourse origin vanished.
Indeed, 51 years later, the president of the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Charleston received an inquiry from a United Daughters of the Confederacy official in New Orleans asking if it was true that blacks had engaged in such a burial rite in 1865; the story had apparently migrated westward in community memory. Mrs. S. C. Beckwith, leader of the association, responded tersely, “I regret that I was unable to gather any official information in answer to this.”
Beckwith may or may not have known about the 1865 event; her own “official” story had become quite different and had no place for the former slaves’ march on their masters’ racecourse. In the struggle over memory and meaning in any society, some stories just get lost while others attain mainstream recognition.
AS we mark the Civil War’s sesquicentennial, we might reflect on Frederick Douglass’s words in an 1878 Memorial Day speech in New York City, in which he unwittingly gave voice to the forgotten Charleston marchers.
He said the war was not a struggle of mere “sectional character,” but a “war of ideas, a battle of principles.” It was “a war between the old and the new, slavery and freedom, barbarism and civilization … and in dead earnest for something beyond the battlefield.” With or against Douglass, we still debate the “something” that the Civil War dead represent.
The old racetrack is gone, but an oval roadway survives on the site in Hampton Park, named for Wade Hampton, former Confederate general and the governor of South Carolina after the end of Reconstruction. The old gravesite of the Martyrs of the Race Course is gone too; they were reinterred in the 1880s at a national cemetery in Beaufort, S.C.
But the event is no longer forgotten. Last year I had the great honor of helping a coalition of Charlestonians, including the mayor, Joseph P. Riley, dedicate a marker to this first Memorial Day by a reflecting pool in Hampton Park.
By their labor, their words, their songs and their solemn parade on their former owners’ racecourse, black Charlestonians created for themselves, and for us, the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.