Category Archives: Current Events

Upcoming Events!

We have an exciting summer of events coming up at the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library; from the UEA Lecture series focusing on the political climate of American current events to events exploring the historical role of Americans in East Anglia there is a talk for everyone.

A few of the historical talks coming up include:

Americans in East Anglia (6-5-17).JPG

This session will allow you to get up close with American artefacts from WWII – perspex windscreen jewellry for an airman’s sweetheart to silk maps used in the event of emergency landing (or worse!). Come along and have a look at the different items and learn a bit of Norwich history.


Americans in East Anglia (12-5-17).JPG Recently we have launched our digital archive – a massive project that allows anyone to access the treasure trove of artefacts and memorabilia of the 2nd Air Division Memorial from any computer. This talk will not only show you how to navigate and search for items within the digital archive but also whet your appetite for the kinds of things that can be found – poetry, letters, diaries, photos, and so much more.


HUN Friendly Invasion Film Show (24-5-17).jpgA bit different from the digital archive, this talk at Hunstanton Library will showcase some of the film footage taken by and of the American airmen during their time in East Anglia. The archival footage is a fascinating way to put yourself in their time and will surely get you thinking about how life has changed in the years that followed!


We hope to see you at any (or all!) of the above talks this May. Please refer to the appropriate digital flyer for booking, location, and time details. 

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Filed under American History, Archive Items, Current Events, Local Interest, Memorial Library, Public Events, World War 2

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance

By Danielle Prostrollo

mlkToday marks another Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: a welcomed day off for many, a few mattress and car sales, and another cursory glance at the I Have a Dream speech.

But King was more than his iconic speech. He was a normal person who believed poor and working people should have equal opportunity to live with dignity and decency – a conversation we are still having today.

In a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, King made it clear that “the ‘no D’ is as significant as the PhD and the man who has been to ‘No House’ is as significant as the man who has been to Morehouse” (King, p. 246).  In a recent Ted talk, Ken Robinson similarly chided the reality that certain jobs have been put on a pedestal and others disparaged.

To illustrate this point, Robinson recounts the story of a young firefighter:
“When I got to the senior year of school, my teachers didn’t take it seriously. This one teacher didn’t take it seriously. He said I was throwing my life away if that’s all I chose to do with it; that I should go to college, I should become a professional person, that I had great potential and I was wasting my talent to do that.” He said, “It was humiliating. It was in front of the whole class and I felt dreadful. But it’s what I wanted, and as soon as I left school, I applied to the fire service and I was accepted. You know, I was thinking about that guy recently, just a few minutes ago when you were speaking, about [the] teacher, because six months ago, I saved his life.”

The young firefighter pulled his former teacher and wife out of the wreckage of a car crash.

The world needs firefighters, garbage collectors, cleaners.  Every person deserves dignity and the chance to earn a decent wage.  Businessmen, lawyers, and the wealthy do not hold the monopoly on living value.  News stories about the minimum wage economy (e.g. Walmart wages and food stamps) put King’s belief in a current societal context.

We know the “I Have a Dream” speech but today we need to look beyond the myth at the imperfect man who battled the crushing pressures of fighting for what he believed in and can perhaps consider what we believe in and how we, too, might stand up for it.

A couple of books that help dispel the mythology of MLK, Jr.:
  • The Radical King, by Martin Luther King, Jr. edited by Cornel West
    This book is a collection of King’s speeches organized and introduced by West to highlight the progression of King’s values over time
  • Death of a King, by Tavis Smiley
    Smiley takes interviews of King’s widow, close friends, and scholars and puts together a realistic look at the last year of King’s life
A link to Ken Robinson’s whole Ted talk (video and transcript)


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Filed under American Culture, American History, American Politics, Books, Current Events, Uncategorized

Short thoughts on America during a recent visit to Seething Airfield

By Danielle Prostrollo

This past week Don and I had the chance to visit the very chilly, overcast WWII-era USAAF airfield at Seething.  Our tour guide Pat, well-versed in all areas of the base from the inner workings of the B24 to childhood games of dare played around the base, took us around the control tower filled with reminders of the Greatest Generation.  In an election season that has not brought out the best of my country, it is more than relieving to hear reminiscent stories of positivity and fondness toward the American people.  When Seething was a bustling airfield things were, in a way, simpler.  The goal was well-defined and, overwhelmingly, we worked together.

While the news pulls us in every direction, my hope for America on this Election Day is that whilst standing in line at your polling location you give up a chair to a weary laborer, let the harried mother-of-three ahead of you, or simply smile at the polling volunteers who carry a very important task on their shoulders.  None of us have all of the answers but we are all American.

In the forthcoming days, pictures and details of our trip to Seething will be published in a joint post by Don and myself. 


Filed under American Culture, American Politics, Current Events, World War 2

Great American Poems Recap + Summer Writing Workshops

Three years after its original inception, on April 25th we had the pleasure of hosting five local poets for our second Great American Poems event. Each speaker read and spoke on an American poem for our audience. The speakers and poems were as follows:

“You Don’t Know What Love is (an evening with Charles Bukowski)” by Raymond Carver, presented by Martin Figura

“Meditations in an Emergency” by Frank O’Hara, presented by Georgia Hingston

Selected excerpts from “The Angel of History” by Carolyn Forché, presented by Andrea Holland

Selected excerpts by Stephen Rodefer, presented by Jonathan Morley

“The Emperor of Ice Cream” by Wallace Stevens, presented by Rebecca Tamás







(Images courtesy of local photographer Nick Bradley)

Attendance was strong (40+ people!) so we had to relocate upstairs to the Vernon Castle room. Audience members were invited to bring their own favorite American poems to share, so some other poets we got to hear included Owen Nash, James Tate and Billy Collins. We hope that Great American Poems will become a biannual event (occurring in the spring and fall), so keep watching this space for updates!

If you’re still craving some writing + literature themed events at the Memorial Library, be sure to sign up for one of our Summer Creative Writing Workshops, run by graduates of UEA’s MA in Creative Writing program. This is a great opportunity to meet other people passionate about creative writing, and to learn different tips and techniques for exploring your creativity. All levels are welcome; all that’s necessary is an interest in writing! Spaces are limited, so make sure you book your place today.



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Filed under Current Events, Memorial Library