Two weeks ago I wrote about Matilda Newport – myth or reality, facts and fiction – and another previous post was on three Liberian women, Elma Shaw, Helene Cooper and Diana Taylor, who wrote three remarkable books on Africa’s oldest republic (see my October 20 post). I have yet another great story to present. It is about Izetta R. Cooper and Kyra E. Hicks, who recently wrote a very interesting book, ‘Liberia: A Visit Through Books’. I thank Kyra for drawing my attention to their work.
Izetta Cooper and Kyra Hicks met in the Washington DC area early 2008. Their passion for Liberia led to a series of meetings during which Izetta told Kyra about Liberia, her life and love for books. The two women decided that Izetta’s story of her life and her knowledge of historical books on Liberia deserved a wider audience, especially for Liberian students and Liberia-interested readers given the destruction of so many documents and books during the 14-year civil war.
The now nearly 80-years old Izetta Cooper was a librarian who worked in the University of Liberia library and also served as Library Consultant for the Presidential Library of the Executive Mansion for President William Tubman (1944 – 1971). Her master’s thesis was on historical books about Liberia and contains a bibliography of more than 230 books. While in Liberia she also hosted and produced a TV show called The World of Books.
The just published book (96 pages) is part biography and part bibliography. ‘Liberia: A Visit Through Books’ also contains an extensive timeline from 1900 – 2008 with historical events, literary publications, blogs, and films about Liberia. ‘Liberia: A Visit Through Books’ is published via lulu.com. This site has more publications on Liberia.
Kyra E. Hicks is an artist, author and prolific blogger. She taught herself to quilt after visiting a museum exhibit of African American story quilts in 1991. Her quilts have been shown in such prestigious venues as the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery in Washington DC, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. Kyra’s story quilts have been featured in several books. Kyra E. Hicks also published The Liberian Flag Story & Love of Liberty Quilt, an Amazon Short.
Izetta Cooper and Kyra Hicks have made an important contribution to the preservation of Liberian history and I hope that their laudable initiative will inspire many others. Readers interested in related information are referred to this site of the Indiana University.