This week in history Jesse Owens broke five world records in a single hour. Jesse Owens rose from the humblest beginnings to become champion of the aspirations of a people and a nation at a time of grave international uncertainty. In the mid-1930s, he was the greatest track and field athlete in the world and captured four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The event was highly charged because of the growing menace of Nazi Germany. This became an important issue in the United States, where many urged the U.S. Olympic Committee to boycott the games. The United States finally decided to participate, and Owens’s performance demonstrated to Germany, and the world, the athletic potential of African Americans. He became a hero in the African American community and won the admiration of many white Americans. Despite his athletic achievements, when Owens returned home, he remained a second-class citizen, subject to legal restrictions in the South and to ingrained discrimination in the North.

Spivey, Donald, and Ameenah Shakir. “Owens, Jesse (1913–1980).” Sports in America from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Steven A. Riess. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference, 2013. 816-818. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.

To learn more about Jesse Owens and his remarkable achievements, click here.

J Owens

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month


One out of 133 Americans has celiac disease. That is 3,000,000 Americans.
2,490,000 of them are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Are you one of them?

Celiac disease is a digestive problem that affects the lining of the small intestine making it hard to absorb nutrients from food. If this disease is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to serious health issues.

Celiac disease is genetic, which means it runs in families. When you have it, your body has an abnormal reaction to a protein called gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye grains. When gluten is consumed, the immune system attacks the part of your gut (the small intestine, or bowel) that absorbs nutrients.

The symptoms can vary greatly from one person to the next and are different for children and adults. Infants and children are more likely to have digestive symptoms, such as:

  • Diarrhea that does not go away
  • Crampy stomach pain
  • Bloating and gas

Because the body is not getting the nutrients it needs, children may also have:

  • Weight loss
  • Poor growth
  • Tiredness
  • Behavior changes and irritability
  • Tooth discoloration and loss of enamel

Adults are less likely to have digestive symptoms but may have one or more of the following:

  • Bone and joint pain
  • Tiredness
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Seizures
  • Itchy rash
  • Sores inside the mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet

Blood tests may show that you are anemic and need more iron. It is possible to have the disease without showing symptoms but you could still be at risk for serious long-term complications, such as:

  • Malnutrition
  • Anemia
  • Liver disease
  • Osteoporosis (bone loss)
  • Cancer


For more information:

Huffington Post: Celiac Disease Is More Common Than We Previously Thought

Celiac Disease Awareness

American Celiac Society

Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet
By: Murphy, Terri. CRS – Adult Health Advisor. 2013, p1-1. 1p.


This week in history Vasco da Gama sailed to India. Vasco da Gama made one of the most important voyages of exploration in the Renaissance. Unlike Christopher Columbus, he did not discover new lands unknown to Europeans. Instead, da Gama pioneered a new route to Asia, a place known to Europeans but very difficult to reach. By sailing around Africa to India, da Gama opened the door to trade, conquest, and a Portuguese empire in East Africa and Asia.

“Gama, Vasco da ca. 1469–1524 Portuguese Explorer.” Renaissance: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. Paul F. Grendler. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004. 114. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.

To learn more about Vasco da Gama’s voyages, click here.

da Gama

The Thrill is Gone: The Passing of B.B. King

bb-kingLegendary blues singer, song-writer and guitarist, B.B. King died Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the age of 89. He left behind a musical legacy for generations to enjoy.

Born Riley King, in rural Mississippi to a sharecropping family, King worked on a cotton plantation from an early age. At the age of 12, he bought his first guitar and left the farm to play gospel and blues on a street corner in Indianola.

After serving in the U.S. Army, King headed to Memphis and became an icon of the blues genre. King earned his nick name “Blues Boy” (B.B. for short) as he rose to musical esteem in Memphis. In 1951, he earned his big break with the song, 3 O’Clock Blues, which held the number one position on the Billboard R&B chart for five weeks.

King went on to produce more than 50 albums, held 30 Grammy nominations and earned 15 awards for his work. He continued touring well into his eighties. King was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his influence on American music.

To learn more about B.B. King’s life and music, click here. Check out his autobiographies, Blues All Around Me and The B.B. King Treasures: Photos, Mementos and Music from B.B. King’s Collection (BIO KING KIN) in our catalog.


Three years after the Titanic disaster,  another equally horrific sinking of another luxury liner occurred: that of the Lusitania. This ship, however, was not the accidental victim of Mother Nature, but the calculated target of an Imperial German submarine, or U-boat, during World War I.

At the time,  the United States held a firm neutral stance towards the conflict raging overseas between the European powers.  Despite the war, sea voyages to and  from Great Britain to North America continued, in the belief that civilian crafts would not be considered military targets. Even when the German Embassy published a warning in 50 American newspapers, declaring that “vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction… and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk,“  1,959  passengers and a crew of 696 set out from New York on May 1, 1915 for Liverpool, England.

On May 7, the ship neared the coast of Ireland. That afternoon, a torpedo fired by a

U-boat slammed into her side. The wounded ship took only eighteen minutes to sink: most passengers never had a chance to reach the lifeboats. 1,119 people died that day, including 128 Americans. This tragedy was one of the events that caused the United States to eventually enter the war.

Source: “A German U-Boat Sinks the Lusitania : May 7, 1915.” Global Events: Milestone Events Throughout History. Ed. Jennifer Stock. Vol. 6: North America. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. U.S. History in Context. Web

To learn more about the Lusitania, click here  and here.