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East Side Freedom Library’s Second Anniversary
June 2, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Two years ago, the East Side Freedom Library, a newly organized 501c(3) non-profit corporation founded by Dayton’s Bluff residents Peter Rachleff and Beth Cleary, took possession of the historic Carnegie Library building, which had long served the diverse East Side community as the Arlington Hills resource and programming center which would place the stories of East Siders at the center of our understanding of history. In the ensuing two years, with the support of dozens of volunteers, they have cataloged 15,000 books developed a partnership with the Hmong Archives, and organized more than 100 educational and cultural programs and events which have attracted more than 4,000 participants. The East Side Freedom Library has collaborated with Metropolitan State University, the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center, and the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and it has received support from the City STAR program, the state Legacy program, the F.R. Bigelow, Saint Paul, Still Ain’t Satisfied, and James S. and John L. Knight foundations. More than a dozen unions and more than 500 individuals have also made donations to support the Freedom Library’s work.
On June 2nd, East Side Freedoms Library leaders want to say “Thank you” to their supporters with a very special event. They want to recognize the amazing work by local students in pursuit of History Day projects. Nearly 100 middle and high school students have come to the East Side Freedom Library to track down resources and consult with staff and volunteers. They have come from Johnson High School, Farnsworth Middle School, Cretin-Derham Hall High School, Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, the Open World Learning Community, Washington Technology Magnet High School, and more. The stories they have told have included the struggle over the Emancipation Proclamation, the 1894 Great Northern Railroad strike, the fight for women’s suffrage, the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WW II, the impact of the Korean War, Martha Graham’s choreography and Igor Stravinsky’s music, and the Equal Rights Amendment. And they have told these stories through story boards, websites, dramatic performances, documentary videos, and even scholarly papers. This has been an amazing production of knowledge by young people, and the East Side Freedom Library has been honored to be a center for it.
On June 2nd, from 5-8 PM, these young people will bring their work to the Freedom Library and present if to their families, their friends, and to our community. The team at the East Side Freedom Library thinks that celebrating what these young people have accomplished is the most appropriate way to celebrate what the Freedom Library is and what it means to this community. We hope that many of our friends and neighbors will join us in this celebration.