Thursday, May 5, 2011

Presentation on Mary Ellen Pleasant, May 7, 2011

The >San Leandro Public Library will host a "living history tribute" to Mary Ellen "Mammy" Pleasant on Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.  The library is at 300 Estudillo Avenue.  Admission is free.

The presentation will be given by Dr. Susheel Bibbs, who directed, wrote, and starred in a television documentary about Pleasant that aired in 2008.  The announcement says that Dr. Bibbs is currently a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, although she does not appear in the campus directory.

I am sure this presentation will be interesting to behold.  Dr. Bibbs describes Pleasant as an activist, entrepreneur, and the "Mother of Civil Rights in California."  I edited a book on historical San Francisco, and Pleasant was discussed in the book.  I found nothing in her history with a connection to civil rights or activism.  She was definitely an entrepreneur, but in fields not necessarily considered suitable for polite conversation and which are fairly well documented, which is probably why the event carries a notice that it is for people aged 14 or older.

I wish I could attend this event, but I have a previous volunteer commitment.  If anyone does attend, I would be most interested in hearing what it was like.  It sounds suspiciously like revisionist history, but there may be some substance behind it.

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