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Posts by Ann-Marie Nicholson

A Trip Down Memory Lane: The Lasting Influence of Illmatic

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of Nas’s debut album, Illmatic. On Wednesday, I had the privilege to attend the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival to watch my friend and former colleague Erik Parker’s documentary, Time Is Illmatic. Parker’s film examines Nas’s groundbreaking album because it symbolizes the shift of hip-hop’s nerve center and lyrics in 1994. Read More ›

Música Soul: The Soundtrack of the Black Power Movement in Brazil

"If we had said 'Negro power' nobody would get scared. Everybody would support it. If we said power for colored people, everybody would be for that, but it is the word 'black' that bothers people in this country, and that's their problem, not mine." —Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) at UC Berkeley, 1966

Stokely Carmichael by Lynn B. PadweBlack Rio Scene by Almir VeigaJames Brown released "I'm Black and I'm Proud" during the height of the Black Power Movement in the United States in 1968. Brown's in-your-face approach to racial pride resonated 

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Reclaiming My West Indian Roots, with Poetry

As a young girl growing up in Jamaica — and later in Brooklyn, NY — I often heard the poetry of Louise Bennett (Jamaicans affectionately call her "Miss Lou") permeate the air. One of my earliest recollections of Miss Lou’s lyricism was hearing the term mout amassi (big mouth). The term comes from the title of one of her most popular poems about a young lady, Liza, who loves to gossip and chat.

To be called a "mout amassi" 

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Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa

“The writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society’s weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future.”

Nigerian environmentalist, author, and television producer Ken Saro-Wiwa lived and died by the words above. Born on October 10, 1941, Kenule “Ken” Beeson Saro Wiwa was an Ogoni (an ethnic minority in Nigeria). Ogoniland, located in the Niger Delta, is rich in oil that has been looted by 

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