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Way overdue?

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News Hits is a firm believer in the power of the written word to change lives, to let us converse and commune with the wise elders who’ve passed … and to give us a chuckle. All of which bring us to an incident earlier this month at the kick-off of the Detroit Public Library’s millage campaign, a darn good cause. A couple hundred Detroit Public Schools students were in attendance on the main library lawn as speakers extolled the values of libraries. The Rev. Wendell Anthony — we’ve heard from several adults in attendance — told of how a library copy of W.E.B. DuBois’ uplifting classic The Souls of Black Folk changed his life back when he was a lad growing up in the neighborhood of the DPL’s Parkman Branch on the city’s West Side. And to underline the timeless value of the book, the head of Detroit’s NAACP chapter held up a battered paperback copy of the book and said something to the effect of I still have it and I’m not giving it back. Some librarians, we’re told, were mightily taken aback, especially after what had otherwise been an endearing and motivating talk; but another attendee told News Hits the line got a good laugh — and was taken as an obvious joke. Anthony didn’t return News Hits’ call, so we don’t know for certain if he was kidding. But if he was serious, the accumulated overdue charges from the 1960s would be nothing to laugh at.

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