Saturday, January 8, 2022

 Howell Library, League of Women Voters, & Livingston Diversity Council celebrate MLK Day with virtual event

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, the Howell Carnegie District Library, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Livingston County and the Livingston Diversity Council will host a virtual presentation, The Sarah E. Ray Project with Desiree Cooper and Aaron Schillinger, on Monday, January 17, 6:30- 8:00pm.

Until now a Detroit civil rights pioneer named Sarah Elizabeth Ray has been largely forgotten.

"As we honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, the LWV of Livingston County is proud to co-sponsor this event as we join with the Livingston Diversity Council and the Howell Carnegie library in saying the name of Sarah Elizabeth Ray," Ellen Lafferty, chairperson of the League of Women Voters of Livingston County, said.

Seventy-five years ago, a 24-year-old African American secretary was denied a seat on the segregated Boblo boat SS Columbia. Like Rosa Parks, she refused to back down, taking her fight for integration all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Represented by fabled NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall, Ray won her case. Scholars argue that she paved the way for the seminal 1954 Brown v. Board of Education, which found that separate was inherently unequal.

"The Livingston Diversity Council is proud to partner with the Howell Carnegie District Library and the League of Women Voters to bring the Sarah E. Ray Project to light and to share her critical contribution to desegregation in Detroit," said Nicole Matthews-Creech, MA, CFLE, president of the Livingston Diversity Council Board of Directors.

Presenting this virtual event will be Desiree Cooper, 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, Pulitzer Prize nominee, former attorney, and 2017 Michigan Notable Book author, and Aaron Schillinger, the director of Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale. Attendees will learn from Cooper and Schillinger about Sarah E. Ray, Detroit's Other Rosa Parks, and the efforts of The Sara E. Ray Project ( to save this civil rights activist's legacy from obscurity.

Registration is required to receive the virtual event's Zoom meeting link and password; sign up on the Library's website at: For more information about the event, visit, or call the library at 517-546-0720

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