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Library Doubles Down on Black History Month

Post Date:03/11/2019 8:08 AM

From start to finish, the Library celebrated Black History Month in a very big way.  During all of February, Black History books were displayed in three areas of the Library, including the display case near the entrance and the one in the Children’s Room.

Festivities actually got a head start on January 31 with a major event honoring the 100th Birthday of Jackie Robinson (1919-1972). Robinson grew up in Pasadena and went on to courageously break the longstanding color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. Robinson is one of the most important athletes and civil rights activists in American History. Besides the opening remarks of Mayor Marina Khubesrian, MD, introductory comments were offered by Alex Boekelheide, the Executive Director of Communications for Pasadena City College and Mark Langill, the LA Dodgers Historian. Also featured was the screening of “The Jackie Robinson Story” (1950) and a custom birthday cake. Among the 125 in attendance were numerous members of the Robinson family. Rosie Robinson sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and Kathy Robinson Young provided door prizes from both the Dodgers and the Jackie Robinson Foundation and drew the winning numbers.


The beautiful and delicious birthday cake was crafted by Cake Sensations of South Pasadena and purchased by the Roybal Foundation.

After the drawing, the assembled multitude gathered at the back of the room to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jackie while being led by Rosie. A special custom birthday cake was carved up and distributed to the audience members after the cake cutting ceremony and ‘photo op.’


All 100 pieces were devoured by the celebrating fans.


Jackie Robinson starred as himself in the film alongside Ruby Dee as Rachel Robinson.

For the Winter Arts Crawl on Saturday, February 16, a Jazz Night was presented which included an exhibit of paintings of famed musicians by Sam Pace, a local artist and a live concert by Mark Hatch and Group 5. A former resident of South Pasadena, Hatch traveled from his new home in Seattle to play two dates in South Pasadena with his group. The event which drew about 200 attendees during its 3 hours culminated with a screening of “Chasing Trane,” the latest documentary by GRAMMY and EMMY-nominated filmmaker John Scheinfeld.


(L to R) Jazz Artist Sam Pace and Amber Ryan and Jimmy O'Balles.

After the credits rolled and the applause subsided, Mr. Scheinfeld took the stage and conducted a lively, informative audience Q & A, during which he revealed what it was like interviewing John Densmore of the Doors, Carlos Santana, Wynton Marsalis, and President Bill Clinton. He also gave the behind-the-scenes details to his obtaining the services of none other than Denzel Washington to serve as Coltrane’s speaking voice in the film.

John Scheinfeld has tackled many music legends in his illustrious career, including the likes of Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Bette Midler, Nat King Cole, and many others and this was the fourth time he’s graced the South Pasadena Library Community Room with one of his masterworks. His current works-in-progress are on Sergio Mendes and Herb Alpert and one can only hope he returns to South Pasadena to share those biopics when they’re completed.


(Photo Credit:  Eric Fabbro, South Pasadenan) The audience showed keen awareness of the musical artistry of Mark Hatch & Group 5.

Both events were sponsored by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library. Special thank are due to Atomic Records,  Crewneck Productions, 210eastsound, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Los Angeles Dodgers,  The Rose, The Lucille and Edward R. Roybal Foundation, South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, SPACE, and Videotheque.




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