Press Release, Calvert County Public Library
Prince Frederick, MD- Calvert Library Prince Frederick is celebrating the release of a new book Inspiring African American Men of Calvert County on Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30pm. In 2017, Darlene Harrod, a remarkable woman herself, spent many hours compiling biographies for a book published by Calvert Library entitled Inspiring African American Women of Calvert County. When she was asked whether she would re-create the feat for African American men of Calvert County, she didn’t hesitate.
Executive Director Carrie Willson-Plymire said, “Calvert Library is very grateful for Ms. Harrod’s dedication to helping Calvert County’s African American community tell its story and celebrate its successes.” While Harrod did much of the compiling of names and chasing down of contact and research information, she shares the credit, “I was happy to be asked and I was happy to have help from Shirley Knight who provided invaluable assistance with the editing work and offered outstanding input for the project.”
The library’s goal in creating the first book was to provide a resource and inspiration to young people, especially young women. According to Willson-Plymire, “Our most recent library tagline is ‘Inspiring Possibility’ and the women and men featured in these books are a perfect model of this.” At the December 19 event, young members of the community will be introducing the featured men and talking about what inspired them about the men they have met through the book.
There are 39 men featured in the book. Most are from our fairly recent history, but Charles Ball was a hero of the early 1800’s and William Sampson Brooks was active in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. According to Robyn Truslow who coordinated the project on behalf of the library, “We did not include every inspiring man in this book but we did include some blank pages to encourage people to add the stories of others that inspire them.”
The first printing of the book was sponsored by Friends of Calvert Library and they are also hosting the reception at the release event. Friends President Martha Grahame said, “We are so excited about this project and proud to be supporting it. The Friends are strong believers in making a difference in one’s community and there are many African American men who have contributed to the building and improvement of our county, its people and the world beyond. We are pleased to celebrate them with this book!” Each man featured in the book will receive a copy courtesy of the Friends. Additional copies will be available for sale at the event for $5. They are also available on Amazon and of course, to check out or read digitally from the library.
The recurring theme in these collected stories is perseverance through unfair challenges, a commitment to finding opportunity despite obstacles and a dedication to making the world a better place for the next generation. Calvert Library has been a partner in the Big Conversation: Dismantling Racism and it was this group that encouraged Truslow to move forward on this book project. Truslow said, “As a library, we know the power of a story. We want to help people tell theirs.”