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NO.59 WINTER 2002
BENE LEGERE
NEWSLETTER OF THE
LIBRARY ASSOCIATES

The Library Associates

Join more than 6,000 other friends, book lovers, alumni, and faculty who recognize that the influence of a great research library reaches beyond the university it serves to the many communities of which it is a part.

Library Associates receive complimentary copies of the quarterly newsletter Bene Legere, as well as invitations to special occasions at the Library. For more information on the Library Associates program, please write or telephone: The Library Development Office, Room 188 Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000; telephone (510) 642-9377. Or, check our website.

     

Annual Dinner in the Library

Picture of Hochschild, Silberstein, and Galante.

Speaker Adam Hochschild, Library Advisory Board member Steve Silberstein, and Clement Galante.

Picture of Miller and O'Donnell.

Library Advisory Board members George Miller and Bob O'Donnell. under the watchful eye of May T. Morrison.

Picture of Rishi Sharma.

Rishi Sharma '02, President of the UC Berkeley Californians.

Picture of the Galantes, the Rosstons, and Bowker.

Jane and Clement Galante, Barbara and Jack Rosston, and Chancellor Emeritus Albert Bowker.

Picture of Faulhaber and the Mullers.

Bancroft Library Director Charles B. Faulhaber, and Tim and Nancy Muller.

Nearly 150 of the UC Berkeley Library's closest friends joined University Librarian Tom Leonard for the Library Associates' annual "Dinner in the Library" on the evening of November 9, 2001.

Guests were welcomed to the Library by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl and Library Advisory Board Vice President Robert O'Donnell. As dessert was served, the Morrison Library was hushed as Adam Hochschild recounted his intriguing tale to research his book, "King Leopold's Ghost."

Hochschild described in detail how a brief footnote, in a book on an entirely different subject, started him on his quest for truth. This footnote stated that nearly 10 million people were killed, or died of starvation and disease between the 1880s and 1909, the period of King Leopold's rule. Hochschild understandably wanted to know why so few of us have ever heard about these atrocities. His research, much of it done in the stacks of Cal's Library, led him to memoirs, missionary accounts, government records, and the testimony of Africans themselves to unearth the long-forgotten facts behind Joseph Conrad's fictional account, "Heart of Darkness."

Hochschild told his audience that during the 1880's, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and largely unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed the population by ten million--all while shrewdly cultivating his international reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose this secret crime finally led to the first great international human rights movement of the 20th century in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated.

Following his remarks, dinner attendees had the opportunity to discuss the writing and researching process with Adam Hochschild in more detail, and were treated to additional wonderful anecdotes about his efforts to get this important story published.


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Originally published Winter 2002. Server manager: contact