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Public libraries receive book on West Virginia Civil Rights history

By Staff | Jan 22, 2016

The West Virginia Library Commission in conjunction with the J.R. Clifford Project is distributing the newly released book Stories from West Virginia’s Civil Rights History, A New Home for Liberty written by Thomas W. Rodd and published by Quarrier Press, to all West Virginia public libraries. Distribution of the book to public libraries is part of WVLC’s continued efforts to create a state of learners.

This book features stories of racial equality including the civil rights case of Carrie Williams and her lawyer John Robert (J.R.) Clifford, the state’s first African American attorney. Williams was an African-American teacher in the 1890s working in a segregated school in the town of Coketon. The case of Carrie Williams vs. Tucker County Board of Education argues equal pay for teachers and equal education terms for all students regardless of race.

Author and local attorney Thomas Rodd comments on his book and states, “One hundred and fifty years ago, brave Mountaineers, black and white, slave and free, risked their lives and fortunes to create the State of West Virginia. A New Home for Liberty tells the exciting story of how they added the West Virginia star to ‘Old Glory’ — as the Civil War raged around them.”

The book was made possible through the tireless efforts of Thomas Rodd and the members of the J.R. Clifford Project to preserve and share a piece of West Virginia history. Funding assistance for the project was provided by the West Virginia Governor’s Community Partnership Grant Program and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

To see if this book is available to borrow, please contact your local library. Book purchase is available locally at Taylor Books, the WV Marketplace at Capitol Market and online from the West Virginia Book Company at www.wvbookco.com. All book proceeds benefit the J.R. Clifford Project.

The J.R. Clifford Project will also presents a living history program titled A New Home for Liberty — Human Rights, Slavery and the Creation of West Virginia on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Cortland Acres Nursing Home in Thomas, West Virginia. For more information on this free performance, please contact Monica Zabroski at Friends of Blackwater, 304-345-7663.

West Virginia Library Commission seeks to create a state of learners by encouraging lifelong learning, individual empowerment, civic engagement and an enriched quality of life by enhancing library and information services for all West Virginians. To learn more about the WVLC, please visit www.librarycommission.wv.gov or call us at 304-558-2041.