The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Foundational Influence

Published on June 9, 2016

By Debra Kirby

I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) on my daily commute. A series on All Things Considered called Generational Politics, which aired in June and which explored the events that shaped the political views of three different generations – 25, 45, and 65 year olds – got me thinking about what most influenced my views, political and beyond. Looking back it is no surprise that having spent some of my most formative years in the 1960s in Detroit, the events related to the Civil Rights Movement played a major role in shaping my beliefs, ideas and character. To this day, I feel privileged to have witnessed that exciting and often turbulent time – even though my parents refused, despite my most earnest and compelling arguments, to let their pre-teen daughter travel by bus to Washington, DC to actually participate in the historic events.  The anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 this July 2 provides the perfect opportunity to go beyond the more commonly known facts surrounding this historic act and the events and people who made it happen.

For example, did you know?

  • John Robert Lewis, civil rights movement veteran and U.S. Congressman from Georgia since 1986, was the only living speaker from the March on Washington present at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. After the ceremony, Lewis asked Obama to sign a commemorative photograph for him. The new president signed the photo with the message, “Because of you, John. Barack Obama.” — Biography In Context.

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What is Autism?

Posted on April 22, 2016

By Traci Cothran

Have you heard of it?  It’s Autism Awareness Month – the Cairo Tower in Egypt, the Empire State Building in the US, City Hall in Tel Aviv, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and many other buildings around the world were bathed in the color blue on April 2 to raise global awareness of Autism.

So what do you know about this disorder?  Are you up on the latest medical developments?  No?  Then grab that mouse and start looking in our Gale products for the answers!

Here are a few bits to pique your interest:

  • Did you know that Autism was apparent in people prior to the Civil War (but not diagnosed as such)? See 2016 Smithsonian magazine in General One File
  • You may have heard of animal behavioral scientist and author, Temple Grandin, but are you aware of her widespread impact on the livestock industry? See Biography In Context
  • From our Gale eBooks (GVRL) collection, The Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders delivers lots of authoritative information
  • Not sure how to approach the topic with younger kids? Try our Kids InfoBits article, “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” (Diseases and Conditions, Gale, 2016) – it offers clear facts at an appropriate reading and comprehension level.

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Get Started Gathering Ideas for Black History Month Lesson Plans

Posted on January 8, 2015

There’s an abundance of historical riches out there, but sometimes you have to know where to look to find the pot of educational gold.  During Black History Month, get high school and undergraduate students to delve a bit deeper and uncover these influential and amazing people who changed lives and generations.  Get the facts from Gale’s In Context database products, relate them to curriculum topics, then follow up with the other multimedia suggested to engage students further.

Civil Rights Movement, US Government, Graphic Novels = John R. Lewis.  This Georgia congressman, serving for 29 years, leads a fascinating life.  Son of a sharecropper, Lewis became one of the six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, served as SNCC chairman, and was one of the original Freedom Riders — all before he was thirty years old. There’s SO much more to discover about this icon, including his publication of two student-friendly graphic novels covering the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March, entitled March: Book One and Book Two.

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The Future is Now in Biography in Context

By Traci J. Cothran

“Roads?  Where we’re going we don’t need roads!” – Doc Brown

It’s hard to believe the first Back to the Future movie – starring Michael J. Fox – was released thirty years ago – 30 YEARS AGO!  It may also surprise you to note that the “future” date visited via the time-traveling DeLorean in the movie is October 21, 2015 … which puts us officially in The Future.

Our editors on Biography in Context uncovered this fast fact recently, and currently feature Michael J. Fox (a.k.a. Marty McFly or Calvin) on the home page. We recently launched a new hotspotter feature in Biography in Context  allowing users to hover on the pulsing circles on the picture to explore more facts about the subject (in this case, Parkinson’s Disease).

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Product Update: Gale’s In Context

Posted on July 6, 2015

Over the past several weeks we’ve added and updated content in many of your favorite Gale In Context databases. Take a look what’s now available for your studies.

Biography In Context

July has new homepage spotlights including:

  • Harper Lee, whose much-awaited book Go Set a Watchman debuts on July 14
  • Dr. Seuss the well-known children’s author has a new book What Pet Should I Get releasing during the month of July
  • General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America’s highest ranking military leader
  • Marta, the Brazilian soccer star who made goal-scoring history in this year’s Women’s World Cup
  • Raven-Symoné, known for her roles on “The Cosby Show” and the Disney Channel, and now ABC’s “The View,” where she is the newest co-host
  • New featured homepage video: “American History: Declaration of Independence”.

New portals that have been added to Biography In Context are:

  • Haifaa al-Mansour, Saudi Arabian filmmaker
  • Sarah Vowell, American author
  • Sonia Manzano, actress and writer for Sesame Street
  • Jordan Spieth, pro golfer and winner of the 2015 U.S. Open Golf tournament.

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In Context Content Updates

Biography in Context

  • Five new spotlights for May went live on the homepage this week:
    • Legendary American baseball slugger Babe Ruth
    • Journalist and talk show host Julie Chen (Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month — USA)
    • First Lady Michelle Obama, featuring her “Let’s Move” campaign (Physical Fitness and Sports Month — USA)
    • Recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    • The late Robert N. Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and a co-founder of Intel Corporation (National Inventors Month — USA)
  • Featured Homepage Video: This month’s featured video highlights former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a five-star general during World War II. It is a nod to VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) on May 8, 1945. This year marks 70 years since the end of the second world war in Europe.
  • Launched 11 new portals including:
    • Aharon Appelfeld, Israeli novelist
    • Ansel Elgort, American actor, who was recently in “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Insurgent”

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Fiction, Schmiction. How About Some Reality?

Thorndike large print memoirs and biographies

Some readers crave fiction. But a growing number of readers are hungry for nonfiction. In fact, a recent analysis of circulation data from libraries around the country revealed phenomenal growth of circulating nonfiction over the last 20 years. Why? Well, here are two possible reasons: 

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Remember and Discover Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou ebook

By Julia Furtaw 

This past Wednesday, May 28, we lost a warrior for equality, tolerance, and peace. Maya Angelou is best known as an author and poet, but her career was varied, and she was also an activist, actress, singer, dancer, playwright, director, and producer. With the publication of her best-selling autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of six autobiographies charting her life from her childhood in the segregated South, her travels around the world, and her work in the civil rights movement, she made her mark as a strong voice in contemporary African American literature.

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