Thursday, November 15, 2007
Local author donates first book to local libraries
Washington, D.C. journalist and author Jesse J. Holland announced this week that he has donated copies of his first book, “Black Men Built The Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C.,” to libraries at two local schools, Holy Family and H.W. Byers.
Holland, a Holly Springs native and H.W. Byers graduate, said he was thrilled to be able to provide copies of the book to two places that meant so much to him.
“Holy Family graciously invited me to speak to its students while I was working on the book, and the encouragement and enthusiasm I got from the students helped me get through some of the long hours I spent researching African American history in the nation’s capitol,” Holland said. “And I can’t say enough about H.W. Byers. I started there when the school was still known as Sand Flat, and I practically grew up in the library. I just wanted to be sure that I gave something back to make up a little for all the help I got over the years.”
Holland also has offered a copy of the book to the Marshall County Library.
“Black Men Built The Capitol” tells the story of the African American contributions to the U.S. Capitol, the White House and the National Mall, as well as other sites in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. One of the things Holland discovered and features in the book is a painting he found inside the capitol of Blanche Bruce, who was the very first African American to serve a full term in the Senate. He also was from Mississippi.
“Blanche Bruce was an incredibly interesting man,” Holland said. “In addition to being from Mississippi and being the first African American senator to serve a full term, he also was the first African American to have his signature on U.S. currency. After leaving the Senate, he became registrar at the U.S. Treasury and had his signature placed on the U.S. money. But few people know he has been honored by having his portrait hanging on the third floor of the U.S. Capitol outside the Senate chamber. It’s those types of things I hope people learn and remember once they read “Black Men Built The Capitol’”
Holland grew up in the Holly Springs area, graduating from H.W. Byers High School in 1989 and the University of Mississippi in 1994 with undergraduate degrees in journalism and English. He currently lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Carol, and daughter, Rita Elaine, where he works in the U.S. Capitol as a political journalist for The Associated Press.
Holland’s parents, Jesse J. Holland Sr. and Yvonne Holland, still live in the Holly Springs area, after retiring from the Memphis City Schools and H.W. Byers respectively.
Holland’s book, “Black Men Built The Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C.,” can be purchased online through Amazon.com and other online bookstores, and also can be purchased through his web site, www.jessejholland.com and bookstores everywhere.
Holland also will be signing copies of his book from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum in Holly Springs.
More information about the event can be found at www.jessejholland.com or at www.idabwells.org.
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