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Posts Tagged ‘eLibrary’

Find Primary Sources in ProQuest’s Guided Research Resources

Educators need to prepare students with information literacy and learning skills for college and the global marketplace. Common Core State Standards address this need through an emphasis on students’ ability to read and understand informational text. Standards require students to learn how to analyze text, make inferences, cite evidence, interpret vocabulary, and determine authoritative sources.

As students learn how to analyze sources, primary sources are key tools to help them learn to ask questions, think critically, and draw conclusions based on evidence.

ProQuest’s suite of Guided Research resources is your solution to prepare students to think critically with a wealth of primary and secondary sources.

ProQuest Research Companion

 

Start with ProQuest Research Companion to access 80+ short videos, nine learning modules, and assessment quizzes to teach students everything they need to know to be information literate and ready to research. For a lesson on primary sources, use this short video on primary and secondary sources.


 CultureGrams

CultureGrams Interview

Interview transcript of Hawa from Djibouti.
Image via CultureGrams.

CultureGrams is a primary source product with editions (World, States, Kids, and Provinces) that offer profiles of countries, U.S. states, and Canadian provinces. CultureGrams editors recruit native or long-term residents of the target culture to serve as writers and/or reviewers for each report, ensuring all reports are first-hand accounts and therefore primary sources. Also see supplementary features that provide more primary source material through photos, videos, interviews, statistics, and recipes.


 eLibrary

platform shoes

Video clip from 1973 chronicles the fashion “craze” of the platform shoe
and warns of the shoe’s dangers to feet and legs.
Source: MPI Video via ProQuest eLibrary

Besides a treasure trove of secondary sources and editor-created Research Topics, eLibrary offers collections of primary sources. A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) present a mixture of textual and visual primary source documents. MPI Videos provide insights into topics as diverse as world affairs, fashion, sports, and the arts from various periods in the twentieth century. And the Getty Historical Image collection highlights hundreds of iconic images from the twentieth century.


SIRS Issues Researcher

Primary sources can be narrowed in the results list. Image via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher.

SIRS Issues Researcher is the premier source for background and analysis of nearly 350 Leading Issues. Analysis and background include primary sources. Start with the SIRS Common Core Guide: Understanding Primary Sources, the step-by-step activity guide to help students analyze primary sources. Every search result can be narrowed by primary sources to find historical documents, speeches, editorial cartoons, and more.


 SIRS Discoverer

editorial cartoons

In the News, a monthly editorial cartoon feature in Spotlight of the Month
Image via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer.

As an online reference source for elementary and middle school, SIRS Discoverer offers primary and secondary sources at a lower reading level than SIRS Issues Researcher, its sister product. Each document is hand-selected at an appropriate Lexile level for its target audience. Access historical primary source maps, graphs, and images in the graphics tab of any search. Find engaging editorial cartoons in the activities section, through search, and via the Spotlight of the Month.

Contact us for more information on how these Guided Research resources can fill your primary source needs or sign up for one of our free monthly webinars.

Star Trek is 50!

On September 8, 1966, NBC aired the first episode of a show that lasted only three seasons. The network could not have predicted that the show, whose introduction announces a five-year mission, would spawn a franchise that would persist for 50 years and have a profound effect on culture and science.

Star Trek RT

Star Trek Research Topic page via ProQuest eLibrary

Of course, the show was Star Trek. And, to celebrate its birthday, here are some easily digestible bullet-pointed facts:

-The show was created by Gene Roddenberry and starred William Shatner as the dashing Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as the logic-driven Spock and DeForest Kelley as grumpy doctor Leonard McCoy, who resumed their roles in the movies of the 1980s. In the reboot films, those roles are played by Chris Pine, Zachary Qunito and Karl Urban.

-Desilu Studios, the company founded by famous TV couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, produced the show, and the call to go ahead with production was made by Lucy herself. She was running the company following her divorce from Arnaz and decided to pull the trigger because she she thought Star Trek promised something different from the average TV fare.

-Trek fans have been devoted from the very beginning. Due to low ratings, the show was threatened with cancellation in the second season, but a write-in campaign by fans helped keep it on the air for a third. All these years later, fandom is still strong.

-Roddenberry, hoping to break from the tired tropes of TV, intended Star Trek to explore topics that weren’t normally allowed on the air. “You really couldn’t talk about anything you cared to talk about. It seemed to me that perhaps if I wanted to talk about sex, religion, politics, make some comments against Vietnam, and so on, that if I had similar situations involving these subjects happening on other planets to little green people, indeed it might get by, and it did.”

-Which brings us to …

Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura engaged in what is often referred to as the first televised interracial kiss. This was, of course, controversial in 1968, and there were efforts to avoid showing the actors’ lips touching before the scene was allowed to run as written.

-To date, Star Trek has resulted in six TV series (and one on the way), 13 movies and hundreds of books, making it a very profitable “enterprise.”

-The Original Series, or TOS, predicted and even directly influenced many technological developments, including mobile phones, computer tablets and plasma TVs. For example, Martin Cooper, inventor of the first cell telephone, said that the Star Trek communicator was the inspiration for the now-ubiquitous device.

-From over-budget to big profits: The pilot for TOS went over budget and cost $616,000 ($4.7 million in 2016 dollars), and then was scrapped by NBC before it greenlighted the series. The 2009 reboot movie brought in $385.7 million.

Besides those found in the links above, here are some more resources you can beam up from eLibrary:

Science Fiction
Television
1960s Popular Culture

Lincoln, Slavery, and the Emancipation Proclamation

“I never in my life felt more certain that I am doing right than I do in signing this paper…If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”–President Abraham Lincoln, on signing the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863

The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet Painted by F.B. Carpenter ; engraved by A.H. Ritchie via Library of congress [public domain]

The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet
Painted by F.B. Carpenter; Engraved by A.H. Ritchie via Library of Congress [public domain]

The Republican Party’s platform in the 1860 election specifically pledged not to extend slavery any further westward into the territories. When its candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th president of the United States, it led to the secession of eleven slave-holding Southern states and the beginning of the Civil War. In a letter to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, dated August 22, 1862, he wrote: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.” Despite this letter, just one month later, on September 22, Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln’s executive order basically stated that if the rebels did not end the fighting and rejoin the Union by January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states would be freed. It applied to some 3 million of the 4 million slaves in the United States at the time, and allowed them to join the Union Army.

While Abraham Lincoln is often viewed as the Great Emancipator, his ultimate political aim was to restore and preserve the Union. But as a politician, he was also acutely aware of public opinion. Lincoln’s stated views on slavery, and how they evolved over time to include the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, are reviewed below

Lincoln Wasn’t an Abolitionist.

In a speech at Edwardsville, Illinois, on Sept. 13, 1858, Lincoln said, “Slavery is an unqualified evil to the negro, to the white man, to the soil, and to the State.” While Lincoln did believe that slavery was morally wrong, it was sanctioned by the “the supreme law of the land,” the U.S. Constitution, which he had sworn to “preserve, protect and defend” as President. In his first inaugural address, on March 4, 1861, he stated “I have no purpose directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so.”

Lincoln Didn’t Believe Blacks Should Have the Same Rights As Whites.

Though Lincoln argued that the founding fathers’ phrase “All men are created equal” applied to blacks and whites alike, this did not mean he thought they should have the same social and political rights. His views became clear during an 1858 series of debates with Stephen Douglas, his opponent in the Illinois race for U.S. Senate. In their fourth debate held in Charleston, Illinois, on September 18, after Douglas had accused him of supporting “negro equality,” Lincoln made his position clear. “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.”

Lincoln Thought Colonization Was the Best Way to Confront Slavery.

For much of his career, Lincoln believed that that if a majority of the African-American population would leave the United States and settle in Africa or Central America, it could resolve the issue of slavery. Lincoln first publicly advocated for colonization in 1852 and in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, Lincoln said, “My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” As president in early 1863, Lincoln also discussed with Register of the Treasury Lucius E. Chittenden his plan to “remove the whole colored race of the slave states into Texas.”

Emancipation Was a Military Strategy.

Band of 107th U.S. Colored Infantry, Arlington, VA, November 1865. Photo by William M. Smith via Library of Congress [public domain]

Band of 107th U.S. Colored Infantry, Arlington, VA, November 1865.
Photo by William M. Smith via Library of Congress [public domain]

Lincoln didn’t see the Civil War as a struggle to end slavery, but as an effort to preserve the Union. But as the war dragged on into its second year in 1862, thousands of slaves had fled Southern plantations to Union lines. Since slaves made up a majority of the South’s labor force, Lincoln viewed emancipation as a way to weaken the Confederacy, while at the same time providing the Union with a new source of manpower to crush the rebellion. By the end of the war, over 200,000 African-Americans would serve in the Union Army and Navy. He issued the preliminary proclamation to his Cabinet on September 22, and it was published the following day. On September 24, Lincoln addressed a cheering crowd from a White House balcony: “I can only trust in God I have made no mistake….It is now for the country and the world to pass judgment on it.”

The Emancipation Proclamation Didn’t Actually Free the Slaves.

Since Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as a military measure, it didn’t apply to border slave states like Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union. In practice, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t immediately free a single slave, since the only places it applied were those where the federal government had no control–the Southern states that had seceded and were currently fighting against the Union. The proclamation was a presidential order and not a law passed by Congress, so Lincoln then pushed for an antislavery amendment to the U.S. Constitution in order to make slavery illegal. Nearly eight months after Lincoln’s assassination, on December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery throughout America, and fulfilling Lincoln’s original proclamation that “all persons held as slaves…are, and henceforward shall be free.”

To learn more about Lincoln’s views on slavery, the social and political climate that led to his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, its impact on the Civil War and the eventual passage of a Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery, check out these Research Topic pages available on ProQuest’s eLibrary:

13th Amendment

Abraham Lincoln

Civil War

Emancipation Proclamation

Slavery

Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery Cross the Rocky Mountains

It must have been a huge relief for Lewis and Clark and the members of the Corps of Discovery to see a river where the current would be in their favor for once, pushing them forward to their destination to the Pacific Ocean. Instead of rowing and poling against the current like they had on the Missouri River for over 2,000 miles since leaving St. Louis, the expedition had now come upon the Clearwater River on the other side of the Rocky Mountains near present-day Orofino, Idaho. Until that moment, it had been anything but smooth sailing. And they had just crossed 200 miles of the worst terrain they had ever come across. It took them 53 days to cross the Continental Divide from the headwaters of the Missouri in Montana and over the Bitterroot Range. The last 11 days of this leg of the expedition they faced starvation, dehydration, and frost bite.

In early August of 1805 Meriwether Lewis and three other expedition members left William Clark and the main group on the Beaverhead River in Montana and headed west toward Lemhi Pass, a low grassy gap on the Continental Divide along the Montana-Idaho border, where they were in search of Sacagawea’s tribe, the Shonshone. Sacagawea was a member of the Lemhi band of the Shoshone, but had been kidnapped when she was 12 years old by a group from the Hidatsa tribe after a battle between the two tribes. Lewis and Clark decided to take her on as a guide because they knew that they could not get over the Rocky Mountains without the help of the Shoshone. She knew the  language and knew the lands that lay ahead of them.

When Lewis and his men made it to Lemhi Pass they were expecting to see a far-reaching plain to the west with a river flowing to the Pacific Ocean. What they saw instead was what they had been seeing since they had made the grueling portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri River: miles and miles of jagged, snow-covered peaks. The men’s spirits immediately sank because they knew that fall and winter weather were not far behind and the mountains seemed to go on endlessly. But they at least had accomplished one goal of the expedition: finding the western-most source of the Missouri River. Soon after going over the pass, Lewis and his men ran into members of the Shoshone and were escorted to their chief, Cameahwait, who by coincidence turned out to be Sacagawea’s brother. Soon after an initial negotiation for horses and other supplies, William Clark and the rest of the expedition arrived with Sacagawea. After a brief emotional reunion with her brother, she helped translate and negotiate for the horses. They were now ready to tackle the rest of the Rockies. But now came the hard part: crossing the Bitterroot Range.

On September 11, after camping for two days for much-needed downtime at an area now called Travelers Rest near present-day Missoula, Montana, they began to ascend the Bitterroot Range on the Lolo Trail with a Shoshone guide named Old Toby. And it was on this trail where they faced their biggest challenge of the expedition.

Snow began to fall six to eight inches at a time. Along with this hazard, much of the trail was filled with downfall, making the trek an arduous clambering over and ducking under timber in thigh-deep snow. Several times they lost the snow-covered trail and had to double back. Provisions were running short. Their horses became weaker each day. And still, at each mountain pass, when the view permitted, the mountains and snow-capped peaks seemed to never end. And each time, the men’s spirits sank even deeper. At times, starvation became an issue, at which point they had to kill and butcher a horse to survive. On September 16 William Clark noted in his journal: “Began to Snow about 3 hours before Day and Continued all day … by night we found it from 6 to 8 Inches deep … I have been wet and as cold in every part as I ever was in my life, indeed I was at one time fearfull my feet would freeze in the thin mockersons which I wore . . . men all wet cold and hungary. Killed a Second Colt which we all Suped hartily on and thought it fine meat.” Finally, 11 days after they left Travelers Rest, they emerged out of the Bitterroots into a wide plain near present-day Weippe, Idaho. They had made it out of the Rocky Mountain alive.

It was here they met the Nez Perce tribe, who turned out to be a warm and welcoming people, who fed, clothed, and nursed them back to health. The tribe also instructed them how to use fire to hollow out trees to make the canoes they would use to continue on their way on the Clearwater River.

On October 7th, 1805, two months after they had crossed over Lehmi Pass on the Continental Divide, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery shoved off the banks of the Clearwater leaving their past troubles behind and with a strong current in their favor. Here they would proceed to the confluence with the Columbia River and on to the Pacific Ocean.

You can learn more about the expedition of the Lewis and Clark and Corps of Discovery with Research Topics, magazine articles, and book entries in eLibrary.

Here’s a start to your research:

Research Topics:

Continental Divide
Lewis and Clark and Corps of Discovery
Meriwether Lewis
Nez Perce
Rocky Mountains
Sacagawea
Shoshone
William Clark

Magazine Articles:

Breaking Trail With Lewis & Clark
Ski

Comparing Notes With Lewis and Clark
American Heritage

The Corps of Captain Lewis and Lieutenant Clark
American History

The Corps of Re-Discovery
American History

Lewis and Clark in Montana and Beyond
Wild West

Lewis and Clark National Historic Landmarks in Montana
Montana: The Magazine of Western History

Who Was Crazy Horse?

For a man like the great Oglala Lakota warrior Tashunkeh Witko, the man most people know as Crazy Horse, it seemed like an undignified way to die. On September 5th, 1877, four months after he and other Oglala leaders came to Fort Robinson at the Red Cloud Agency to surrender and negotiate a peaceful ending to the fighting, and just a year after the battle at the Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse was dead. While being arrested he was stabbed in the back by a soldier with a bayonet just outside a jail cell. How could this have happened to a man who rode fearlessly through a hail of arrows and gunfire in order to give his war parties time to regather themselves, a man who selflessly rescued fellow warriors from certain death on the battlefield? The U.S. Army called the stabbing an accident. Relatives, friends, and fellow tribe members of Crazy Horse thought differently.

Crazy Horse was born sometime around 1842 near Rapid Creek in the Black Hills of South Dakota to parents from two different Sioux tribes, his mother, Rattling Blanket Woman, a Miniconjou, and his father, Crazy Horse, an Oglala holy man. After Crazy Horse was born his mother began calling him Curly for his naturally light-colored, curly hair. When he was about twelve years old Curly witnessed the shooting of their great Lakota chief Conquering Bear by U.S. Army soldiers led Lieutenant John Grattan. The ensuing skirmish eventually left 29 U.S. Army soldiers dead, including Grattan, and later became known as the Grattan Massacre and the beginning of the Sioux Wars. As Curly grew into a young man, seeing that he was destined for great things, his father relinquished his own name to his son after the young warrior had revealed the vision he had of bullets and arrows vanishing in thin air before they struck him. His father took the name Worm, and with his new name, Curly had become a third generation Crazy Horse after his father and grandfather.

As tales of Crazy Horse’s heroics during battle grew, he quickly became a leader among his people who they willingly followed and trusted. But he was different from most Oglalas. He was shy, modest, never drew attention to himself, and many times seemed alone in his thoughts. Some considered him aloof. Unlike most Oglala warriors, informed by his vision, he almost never took scalps. He wore little or no face paint, never wore a war bonnet, and was content with wearing only one head feather. He did not dance and no one ever saw him sing, both activities that Lakotans loved. He never married his true love, Black Buffalo Woman. Her husband, No Water, shot Crazy Horse in the face when he found the two together in a tipi during a buffalo hunt. The shot glanced off the side of his face and left a permanent scar.

These are just some of the things we know about Crazy Horse, but much about his life remains vague at best. Only those who were close to him knew much of anything. Two of the most important resources that can give a researcher unique insights into the life of Crazy Horse come from two books, Mari Sandoz’s “Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas,” and John Neihardt’sBlack Elk Speaks.”

Growing up on the panhandle of present day Nebraska in the early 1900s, Mari Sandoz lived among the Oglala who often encamped near the Sandoz homestead. She befriended relatives and friends of Crazy Horse like He Dog, Short Bull, and Black Elk. Using her knowledge of the Lakota language, she artfully wove her tale of Crazy Horse by integrating the Lakota’s superb transcendental imagery into plain English. John Neihardt, an American poet and ethnographer, interviewed Black Elk, a Lakota medicine man and cousin of Crazy Horse. In “Black Elk Speaks,” through the translation of Black Elk’s son Ben Black Elk, Neihardt narrated Black Elk’s own stories and his visions as a medicine man, but also related many stories about Crazy Horse the warrior and leader of the Oglala Lakota.

eLibrary can also give you a step up in your research of the life of Crazy Horse. There are resources on the Plains Indians tribes, such as the Sioux and Cheyenne, and the Great Sioux Wars from the 1850s to the 1890s (including the Battle of the Little Bighorn and Battle of the Rosebud). Below are those resources and more related to Crazy Horse and his people.

Research Topics:
* Battle of the Little Bighorn
* Battle of the Rosebud
* Crazy Horse
* Sioux Indians
* Sioux Wars

Magazine Articles:
* How Little Bighorn Was Won
* Lakotas Feared Fighters of the Plains
* Tragedy at Red Cloud Agency: The Surrender, Confinement, and Death of Crazy Horse
* ‘We Belong to the North’: The Flights of the Northern Indians From the White River Agencies, 1877-1878
* What Did Crazy Horse Look Like?

Book Articles:
* Crazy Horse (Tasunke Witko)
* Sioux
* Plains War

A Fresh Crop of ProQuest Research Topics

We’ve had a downright tropical environment in Louisville this summer, giving us the ideal conditions for growing Research Topic pages! There are 80 new pages since the end of last school year, covering topics like the Juno and Galileo missions to Jupiter, America’s role in World War I, the Brexit, and of course, Pokémon GO.

Research Topics are a great tool for student research, offering a wealth of editorially-curated articles, pictures, video, and websites to supplement study units throughout the year. With 11,000 Research Topics, chances are we have what you need!

Click on the video below to learn the different ways to discover the Research Topic you’re looking for:

 

The General Election Begins

eLibrary continues to follow the election with frequent updates of its U.S. Presidential Election, 2016 Research Topic page. Currently, the page has a recap of the conventions and Research Topic profiles of the candidates and their running mates. It also includes the profiles of third-party candidacies of Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The page also has a section with up-to-date polling articles, including a link to the aggregate polling website RealClear Politics, a section on campaign issues and political analysis, and a section on campaign finance and influence. As the debates unfold, we will provide analytical articles of the debates from different viewpoints, along with continued updates of the polls before and after the debates.

Below are more Research Topic resources for your research and discovery:

Prelude to Little Bighorn: Battle of the Rosebud

In the end, it may not have mattered for Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. On June 16, 1876, 30 miles southeast of, and eight days before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Brigadier General George Crook and his column crossed over the Tongue River, a river that Crazy Horse warned Crook not to cross. They were en route to Rosebud Creek where he suspected that Sitting Bull and his village were encamped. At Rosebud Creek, Crook and his men encountered and fought to a stalemate Crazy Horse and his Sioux/Cheyenne confederacy. Afterwards, instead of marching northward to join Custer at the Little Bighorn, Crook’s troops retired to their Goose Creek encampment. Could Crook and his troops have made the difference at the Battle of the Little Bighorn? Could they have turned the corner of that battle and won the day for Custer and his men? And just what were these battles, which were part of the larger Sioux Wars, all about, anyway?

In 1868, the U.S. government signed a treaty (Sioux Treaty of 1868) which acknowledged that the Indians owned approximately 125,000 square miles of land from the Black Hills in western South Dakota down to northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. These lands were the historic buffalo hunting grounds of the Sioux, Cheyenne, and other Plains Indians. In the treaty, the government promised protection against any encroachment by the white settlers of the United States. But after gold was found in the Black Hills by an expedition led by Custer in 1874 miners began flooding the region with no regard to the treaty. The government decided to renegotiate the treaty, but the Sioux and Cheyenne would have none of it. The Sioux had heard these promises before. When they refused to renegotiate, the U.S. Army was given orders to force them onto an even smaller reservation.

Fast forward to June 17, 1876. Crook was given orders to engage the Indians at Rosebud Creek, and then move north to join the convergent forces of General Alfred Terry (with Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer), and Colonel John Gibbon to force the Indians onto a reservation. Crook believed wrongly that Sitting Bull’s village was camped out on the Rosebud, and he had orders to engage and destroy it. If he had come three days earlier, he would have encountered the village where they had engaged in a Sun Dance, and where it was reported that Sitting Bull had a vision of “soldiers falling into his camp like grasshoppers from the sky.” Instead, they encountered Crazy Horse and a smaller, but still large band of Sioux and Cheyenne. The battle lasted for six hours. When the fighting was over, it was at best a Pyrrhic victory for Crook and his men; they retained the ground on which they fought, but they had to retreat back to their encampment at Goose Creek near present-day Sheridan, Wyoming to tend to their wounded and give rest to a battle-worn column. Crook claimed victory but military historians now view the battle as a victory for Crazy Horse and his men, and a prelude to the triumph at Little Bighorn a week later. Could Crook and his men have tipped the scales at Little Bighorn had they not retreated to Goose Creek after the battle on Rosebud Creek? Of the three federal forces, Crook’s was the largest with over 1,000 men. But would it have made a difference?

You can explore this question and more in eLibrary. Research topics such as the Great Sioux Wars, including Battle of the Rosebud and Battle of the Little Bighorn, and the United States Westward expansion, which contributed to the disputes in the Plains and the Black Hills. There are ProQuest Research Topics on Battle of the Rosebud, Crazy Horse, and General George Crook, as well as a host of other topics and resources associated with the battle listed below.

Research Topics:

Battle of the Little Bighorn
Battle of the Rosebud
Crazy Horse
George Armstrong Custer
George Crook
Sioux Wars
Sitting Bull

Related Browse Topics:

American Expansionism
Great Sioux War/Black Hills War

Native American History

My Hour with The Greatest

In the summer of 1987, on a blazing hot and humid Sunday morning around 8 a.m., while attending the University of Louisville, I was walking alone toward the campus student center to have a bit of breakfast, catch up with friends, and study for a while. Although it was early Sunday morning and it was during the summer session of classes when most students aren’t in school, the campus still seemed strangely deserted. There was not a soul anywhere that I could see. As I made my way through the Quad onto the oblong roundabout that circled in front of the student center, I saw a step van parked along the street with a man sitting on the back of it, all alone, and a stack of books behind him in the back of the van. As I neared the van it began to dawn on me that I was looking at one of my childhood heroes, Muhammad Ali. I thought, “what, are you kidding me?” My eyes glazed over. I was shell shocked. My first thought was “what was a man like him doing here sitting alone on the back of a van early on a Sunday morning?” My initial knee-jerk reaction was to turn around and walk the other way. How was I going to act? And, for that matter, what was I going to say to him? I imagined myself going into some kind of Jackie Gleason/Ralph Kramden character stuttering to spit out the words.

As a child growing up in the 1960s, like a lot of kids from the Louisville area, I revered Muhammad Ali. I vividly remember sitting next to the radio with my father listening to the round-by-round reports of Ali’s first monumental bout with Sonny Liston. That was when he was known as Cassius Clay. Shortly after that fight with Liston, Ali converted to Islam and changed his name. In his subsequent fights with both Floyd Patterson and Ernie Terrell they each taunted him for his conversion and name change and refused to call him by his Muslim name. He defeated both. Four years later after the Terrell fight, and after he had been banned from fighting and was stripped of his title due to his refusal to enter the draft for the Vietnam War, I listened to (and years later watched) all three bouts against Joe Frazier, and the ultimate boxing match against George Foreman in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle.” After Ali upset Foreman, when no one gave him any chance, it only added to his legend.

Of course, as it turned out, prize fighting and his subsequent celebrity became only a part of Muhammad’s life, and ultimately proved to be a platform for the main causes of his life: Islam, justice, humanitarianism, and peace. It seems ironic that a man who earned a living beating the daylights out of another man would be well-suited for the cause of peace and justice. But as the great World War II general Douglas McArthur once said, “the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” Considering Muhammad’s background growing up in segregated Louisville in the 1950s as a young African American, enduring the contempt for his religious conversion, and making comeback after comeback in the boxing ring, among other things, in my mind he was like a soldier. Many older military veterans, especially Vietnam veterans, will take that as an insult because of Ali’s refusal to enter the Vietnam draft. This is understandable. But it is undeniable that Ali’s unwavering religious convictions and social consciousness could not be denied. He was willing to pay the price for his convictions, and he did. He was not only a man of supreme confidence in and out of the ring, but he was also a man of principle and character of the first order. My encounter with Ali on the campus of the University of Louisville that summer day only strengthened that belief.

After my initial fright of seeing Ali in front of me, something kept my pace toward this man sitting alone on the back of that van. I needed to do this. It had been two or three years since Muhammad’s diagnosis for Parkinson’s Disease, so when I walked up and nervously shook his hand we were both shaking while we shook each other’s hand. He smiled and recognized my nervousness right away, pointing to his slightly shaking hand. I introduced myself and immediately told him that I was one of his biggest fans. He reached back and retrieved from the stack of books behind him an Islamic prayer book, which he gave me, and I still have to this day. He proceeded to tell me a little bit about Islam. Right away he made me feel comfortable to be around him, and I finally relaxed. His slowness in speech was apparent, but he was still able to speak quite well. More than anything, the gleam in his eyes told me everything about him: Peace.

So there I sat on the back of a van, at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning talking with Muhammad Ali for what seemed like an hour, but in reality was probably no more than 10 minutes. Time froze for me, it seemed. We talked about some of his fights, particularly the first Frazier fight and the “Rumble in the Jungle.” We discussed family and the places where we both grew up. Then suddenly, like the lifting of a veil, a small crowd of people appeared and the discussion was over. It was as if I had just woken from a dream. I quickly got up, shook his hand again, told him how grateful I was to meet him, and we said our goodbyes. A swarm of people quickly surrounded him.

Oddly enough, when I first greeted him and we began talking, he started to sign the prayer book for me, but I interrupted him and told him he didn’t have to. At that time in my college career I was in a sort of a strange phase of irreverence for all things celebrity and felt a sort of bravado for looking down at people with fame. I guess I was the typical rebellious college student. When I kindly refused his autograph, he looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes and smiled. I think right then he seemed to have gotten me and tacitly acknowledged what I was saying, even though I didn’t even really know what I was saying. That iconoclastic attitude seemed to have melted away from me immediately after meeting him. But when the crowd swarmed around Ali it was like I was being swept away at sea. I never got him to sign the book and I never got to meet him again.

All these years later, looking back, the most important things that I came away from my encounter with Muhammad Ali was the appreciation of his humanity and how I eventually came to the idea that all people deserve respect, understanding, and compassion regardless of their beliefs, ethnicity, race, or disability. Our discussion about Islam, peace, and kindness toward all people, although brief, eventually served as one of my compass points on how to respect other people’s beliefs, especially to those people who have different ones than mine; which, as it turns out, really aren’t all that different. But our discussion also served as an instructional guide for me, particularly now as Muslims observe this time, their holy month of Ramadan, in understanding those good people who I have encountered over the years who practice the religion of Islam, and those to whom I have been extremely close who have recently found comfort in the Muslim faith. And for that alone, I thank him.

 

ProQuest eLibrary Science: Man in Space

ELIBSCI2016

Learn about the many exciting and incredible things we’ve learned from our outreach into space, both manned and unmanned.  We’ve overcome and dealt with major challenges, obstacles, and tragedies like the loss of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia, the Apollo 13 mission, and the required space repairs of the Hubble Telescope and our very first space station, Skylab.  We’ve also seen great success walking on the moon, and with our space probes deep into our own solar system and beyond, as well as our Mars rovers.  We’ve done a lot and come through a lot, and yet we haven’t even scratched the surface.  Is there a career waiting for you in space?  Maybe in one of the other areas of science?  If you think so, or if you just like to learn interesting facts and theories about our world and worlds beyond, you can find all kinds of information in ProQuest eLibrary Science. ProQuest eLibrary Science will introduce you to topics in health, biology, earth science, mathematics, physical sciences, technology, science projects, and much, much more!

Learn all about ProQuest eLibrary Science, or any of our other extensive ProQuest resource collections by joining the ProQuest Training and Consulting team in a free public webinar. If we haven’t listed the class you’re interested in, just contact us and we’ll be happy to make arrangements to meet with you directly.