Saturday, 05/02, 3:30-5pm, Auditorium: Come to our library to meet author Martha Bloomfield presenting her books: "Hmong Americans in Michigan", "My Eyes Feel They Need to Cry", "Romanies in Michigan", and "The Sweetness of Freedom". You will be able to purchase a signed copy of her books.
Bio: Martha Bloomfield is an author, oral historian, and photographer who specializes in stories of marginalized peoples—immigrants, migrants and the homeless, in an effort to dissipate prejudice and stereotyping and foster civic engagement and social justice. Her motto, is "Peoples’ Stories Defy Stereotypes!” Her most recent book, Romanies in Michigan, (Michigan State University Press, 2019), is a groundbreaking book that shares for the first time, oral histories of Romanies in the United States and specifically in Michigan. She also wrote Hmong Americans in Michigan (2014), the first and only book about Hmong Americans in Michigan. She authored My Eyes Feel They Need to Cry, Stories from the Formerly Homeless, (2013) and coauthored with Steve Ostrander The Sweetness of Freedom, Stories of Immigrants (2010), winner of an IPPY/Independent Publish Book Award, Silver Medal for Multicultural Adult Non-Fiction, and a Michigan Notable Book Award. (All are published by Michigan State University Press.) She gives workshops on oral histories and marginalized peoples and adapts her programs to all ages and venues to inspire people to discover their own and others' stories through their voices, artifacts, historical documents, and family photographs. She is a member of the Michigan Humanities Council Arts and Humanities Touring Directory. She has organized symposia on homelessness, civic engagement, and social justice sponsored by the American Embassies in conjunction with Czech colleagues in The Czech Republic (2010) and with Bulgarian colleagues in Bulgaria (2013). She has given talks at the International Oral History Association meeting in Prague, the national Oral History Association meetings, and the Michigan Oral History Association meetings.
Hmong Americans in Michigan
My Eyes Feel They Need to Cry, Stories from the Formerly Homeless
Romanies in Michigan
The Sweetness of Freedom, Stories of Immigrants
Hmong Americans in Michigan introduces their experience in Michigan, discusses Hmong American history, culture, and more specifically how they left homelands filled with brutality and warfare to come to the United States since the mid-1970s. More than five thousand Hmong Americans live in Michigan. This book documents via personal interviews and extensive research how despite the tremendous losses the Hmong have suffered for many years, they continue to demonstrate courage and profound resilience.
My Eyes Feel They Need to Cry, Stories from the Formerly Homeless: As intimate as they are inspiring, these stories of transformation, drawn from the oral histories of formerly homeless adults, testify to the determination of the human spirit and the healing power of sharing one’s journey. This gripping collection gives voice to the traditionally voiceless, inviting men and women from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds to share their experiences of what it was like to live on the streets, in cars, under bridges, and of how they discovered the inner motivation to change the course of their lives in a positive direction.
Romanies in Michigan is a ground-breaking book that shares oral histories of Romanies in the United States. It focuses on the Hungarian-Slovak Romani musical community originally from Delray, Michigan, as well as others from outlying areas in and near Michigan. It introduces Romanies’ diverse, rich, resilient history in Michigan which provides a different voice from the stereotypical, bigoted newspaper articles from Michigan newspapers that reflect law enforcement agencies’ prejudices or racial profiling.
The Sweetness of Freedom, Stories of Immigrants presents an eclectic grouping of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century immigrants' narratives and the personal artifacts, historical documents, and photographs these travelers brought on their journeys to Michigan. Some of the immigrants hoped to gain better education and jobs. Others—refugees—fled their homelands because of war, poverty, repression, religious persecution, or ethnic discrimination.