Walking into the library conference room, the aroma of chicken sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies instantly hit our nostrils. Our stomachs growled with hunger for food and the need for knowledge. What was learned was conveyed in an entertaining and thought provoking lecture.
The Loblolly students went to Panola College to listen to Professor Bill O’Neil’s Lunchbox Lecture on Tuesday, February 26. Professor O’Neil went in depth about photojournalist Jacob A. Riis, whose works are exhibited at the library.
“Long ago it was said that one half of the world does not know how the other half lives,” photojournalist Jacob Riis states in his work, How The Other Half Lives. “The half that was on top cared little for the struggles, and less for the fate of those who were underneath…”
Professor O’Neil talked about Riis’ life struggles and accomplishments. Riis’ writings alerted those in power about the real life struggles of the poor. O’Neil stated President Roosevelt saw his writings as a call to action.
O’Neil went on to convey that President Theodore Roosevelt was known to have said that Riis was one of the most valuable citizens of the United States. They were both committed to reforms which would help the poor.
After reading Riis’ book, at that time Police Commissioner Roosevelt went to his office and left a note, “I have read your book and come to help.”
Professor O’Neil’s lecture went along with the library’s new exhibit, Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half, which is located in the M.P. Baker Library. The exhibit shows pictures, letters, and books written by Jacob Riis which focus on the plight of poor people in New York during the early 1900s.
While listening to Professor O’Neil’s Lecture, the audience enjoyed a buffet of sandwiches, cookies, and tea that the library provided. Afterwards, all were invited to tour the exhibit which filled the first floor of the library.