Miller F. Whittaker Library Celebrates National Library Week

Monday, April 8, 2019

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – The Miller F. Whittaker Library, in observance of National Library Week, will host events during the week of April 8-12. This year marks the 61st anniversary of the weeklong event, which began in 1958. The theme for this year is “Libraries=Strong Communities.” Digital librarian for the Library of Congress, Lavonda Broadnax, will present her work entitled, “Selected Literature Published by the Civil War Soul Sisters.” She will present at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8, at the Miller F. Whittaker Library.

Lavonda BroadnaxBroadnax’s compilation, “Selected Literature Published by the Civil War Soul Sisters,” includes writings by approximately 50 diverse African American women who lived during the Civil War- during that time, it was illegal for most African Americans to learn to read or write. Collectively, the women published over 100 works, including biographies, essays, autobiographies, speeches, cookbooks, textbooks, children's books, novels and more. The writings reflect politics, along with the women’s challenges, struggles and triumphs, while embodying their humor and spirituality.

The works of the ‘Civil War Soul Sisters’ offer readers a view of a difficult time in American history in a unique way, unveiling the perspectives that have been traditionally silenced. Broadnax’s collection promotes these women to an earned place in history. The ‘Civil War Soul Sisters,’ through their work, also created a foundation for more African American writers.

For her collection, Broadnax was given the American Library Association’s 2013 Zora Neale Hurston Award, which honors librarians who have demonstrated leadership through promoting African American literature. In addition, she is a member of Female RE-Enactors of Distinction: African American Ladies of the Civil War, (FREED) which is an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C.

Broadnax participated in the 2013 Catherine B. Reynolds Civil War Washington Fellows Institute and the 2012 African American Civil War Museum’s Teachers and Scholars Seminar.

She is a graduate of Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve University.

Library Week celebrates the contributions of the nation's libraries, librarians and promotes library use and support. As one of the most diverse and comprehensive learning environments on campus, the Miller F. Whittaker Library provides services and multi-formatted resources in support of student success. The campus library values its customers and provides an atmosphere for teaching, learning, research, technology and collaboration.

For more information about National Library Week events, contact Juanita H. Strait at (803) 536-7045 or All events are free and open to the public.

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