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Category: Cultural Heritage

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Ethiopian Christmas and the Ethiopian Calendar System

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

This is a guest blog post by Fentahun Tiruneh, Area Specialist for Ethiopia and Eritrea in the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress. On January 7, 2016, Ethiopian Christians, particularly the followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox “Tewahedo” Church in Ethiopia, the United States, and elsewhere, celebrate Christmas. In Ethiopia, it is …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Black History Personified: Alyce L. Dixon

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

She lived to be 108. That, alone, is awe-inspiring, but there was so much more to Alyce Lillian Dixon than just birthdays. Hers was a remarkable life—one most worthy of highlighting as we begin Black History Month. Though I had heard stories about the spry legend, born in Boston but living just a short distance …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Consider Making Monday a Day On, Not a Day Off

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

Every year, on the third Monday of January, America pauses to celebrate the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His widow, Coretta Scott King, along with many civil rights leaders, public figures and everyday people campaigned against the odds—and many resistant politicians—to make Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday. I …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Reflections on the Life of a Native American Marine

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

November 10, 2015 marks the 240th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Semper fidelis! It just so happens that this birthday falls during November, the month set aside to celebrate the rich history and culture of Native Americans/American Indians. Interestingly enough, while recently doing some research for a media event, I came across a …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Jean Ritchie, 1922-2015

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: The whole AFC staff was saddened by the death of Jean Ritchie earlier this month.  We paid tribute to her immediately in a Facebook post, which you can see here, and the Chairman of our Board of Trustees, C. Kurt Dewhurst, made a moving statement about Jean at the Board’s June meeting.  However, I …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

East Asian American Traditions

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

The earliest East Asian immigrants often had a difficult journey making their way to the United States. Many carried little with them but the cultural traditions they knew, such as language, stories, religious customs, foodways, music, song, and dance. Chinese Americans Chinese immigrants, mainly Cantonese speakers from Guangdong, were among the first Asians to come …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

What is it About May?

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

I confess. I always get a little giddy in May. Maybe it’s because the longer, warmer days of May mark the impending arrival of summer, my absolute favorite season. Yes, I am one of the rare lovers of brutally hot, humid DC summers. Or maybe May brings out the giddiness in me because I admire …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Honoring Vernacular Sounds: AFC Recordings on the National Recording Registry

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Last week, the Library announced this year’s inductees to the National Recording Registry.  There, along with classics by The Doors, Radiohead, Steve Martin, and Joan Baez, was a fascinating AFC collection: The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection Recorded at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago. This collection of 101 wax cylinder recordings was created by …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Recognizing African-American Veterans This Month and All Other Months Too

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

As a native Washingtonian, I grew up in a predominantly African American community and proudly attended D.C. Public Schools, where Black History was taught as a regular part of the curriculum, and not just during February. As far as my elementary school music teacher was concerned, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” also known as “The …