SARATOGA SPRINGS – Last Spring, Linda LeTendre, leader of the Saratoga Peace Alliance, was talking to David LaCarte, president of the Adirondack Chapter 147 of Veterans for Peace, about how to do more to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
That’s when LeTendre had the idea to create a Little Free Library specifically devoted to Black history and culture. The goal was to showcase the achievements and critical contributions of Black people – whether it be Gladys West, whose work eventually led to the development of global positioning systems, or Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who invented rock ‘n’ roll.
“I said why don’t we have a Little Free Library so that people can understand what an enormous influence Black lives have had on American culture,” LeTendre said.
With financial support from Saratoga Coffee Traders and the historic Frederick Allen Lodge on Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs agreeing to host the library, the library is now the Capital Region’s first Little Free Library devoted to Black history and culture. Rev. Michael Bell, Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim, and Exalted Ruler of the Frederick Allen Lodge Kendall Hicks are expected to attend a dedication on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“It’s one of a kind right now, but we are hoping to inspire not only others in our community, but people across the country to do the same thing so we can share the accomplishments of people of color,” Hicks said Friday.
Little Free Libraries are free “give and take” libraries for books, music, movies and other media, with the available content constantly changing. This free library will host books on Black history, as well as books, music and movies by Black writers and artists. It’s a way to not only promote Black culture but to celebrate its richness, LeTendre said.
“I’m hoping it inspires wider appreciation,” she said. “And maybe it’ll build some friendships.”
Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.