Critical Linking

Cairo Illinois’s First Black Librarian Celebrated on Her 100th Birthday: Critical Linking, July 14, 2020

Critical Linking, a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web is sponsored by our 1-year TBR subscription giveaway courtesy of Macmillan Reading Gold Group.

“Seavers started working for the Cairo Public Library in the 1940s, when Black children were not welcome inside its stately building on Washington Avenue. She was assigned to a branch office at Pyramid Courts, a brand new public housing complex for Black families built in the early part of the decade.

‘They didn’t have a library at all for the Black kids at that moment, so the library was started out at Pyramid Courts,’ Seavers recalled in an interview with The Southern on Wednesday. ‘And they were very nice. The kids came in to get the different books they wanted to read, and get ideas and things they chose to come and talk about.’”

Give this beautiful woman all the cake.

“Summer is absolutely the season of romance novels, and this summer is no exception! This season is packed with funny, sweet romances that prove that important ideas and happy endings are not, in fact, mutually exclusive. We could all use a little more love in our lives, and that’s what these books are hoping to provide! To help you put together your reading list, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite romance novels coming out in summer 2020.”

An excellent smooching list!

“When cisgender women argue that trans women can’t possibly know what it’s like, the subtext is: they haven’t felt what I’ve felt. When ‘I’ and ‘me’ are the immovable foundations of an argument, the ground doesn’t shift. Hierarchies of pain and persecution offer no prospect for progression, only short-term vindication. Trans women can be seen as ‘real’ women without their biology being used as an oppressive tool against them.

On the matter of oppression – and who has felt it the most – the argument Michel Foucault made in The History of Sexuality (Volume One) is still relevant today: for centuries, the female body has been the subject of medical scrutiny, and positioned as a place of madness and weakness. A tyranny of truths about what is ‘normal’ has persisted ever since. There is a connecting thread between insulting terms like ‘hysterical’ and the #MeToo movement’s examination of why so many women’s experiences have been disbelieved. We can hold all of this to be true while also recognising that trans women suffer because of the same systems – toxic masculinity, misogyny and sexism – that cisgender women experience. The common enemy here is male violence. Men should be held to account for their actions, not those who have survived them.”

The author of Hormonal: A Conversation About Women’s Bodies, Mental Health and Why We Need to Be Heard, on the need for safety and respect for the trans community, not debate or discussion about them.