Kent Branch Hosts Talk with Abdul Alkalimat

Kate Williams, PhD, and Abdul Alkalimat, PhD

By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter

The Kent Branch Library Tatum Center hosted a virtual discussion with former University of Toledo Chair of Africana Studies Abdul Alkalimat, PhD, and his wife Kate Willliams, PhD, regarding their book Roots and Flowers: The Life and Work of Afro-Cuban Librarian Marta Terry González (2015) Thursday, March 21 at Kent Branch Library. The zoom meeting included catered Cuban fare from Carlos Poco Loco.

Guests listened to the two scholars discuss Afro-Cuban life and history during the 20th-century and the emergent librarianship during the Cuban Revolution. The book introduces readers to 1) the role of Afro-Cubans in Cuban history and culture, particularly in the 20th century, and 2) librarianship in the context of the Cuban revolution through the life and lens of Dr. Marta Terry who directed three centrally important Cuban libraries in her lifetime. Her work serves as an example for other Africans in the Americas and for all library workers in times of social change. (Source:

Abdul Alkalimat (Gerald A. McWorter) is a founder of the field of Black Studies and author of many books and papers about Black liberation including Black Toledo: A Documentary History of the African American Experience in Toledo, Ohio (2019).  He wrote the first college textbook for the field, Introduction to Afro-American Studies, which has seen seven editions, the last one free and online.

A lifelong scholar-activist with a PhD from the University of Chicago, he has lectured, taught, and directed academic programs across the US, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and China. Two of his early contributions were serving as chair of the Chicago chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and co-founding the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC) in 1967. He is now professor emeritus of African American Studies and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Much of his work is freely available at

Kate Williams is an associate professor emerita in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and holds a PhD, Information, University of Michigan.

To learn more about the Kent Library Art Tatum Center or view upcoming events at the Toledo Public Library visit