Incoming Student Designs Black American Heritage Card for Brooklyn Public Library
June 29, 2021
Jneyde “Nehemiah” Williams, an incoming transfer student to Baruch, created the winning design for a new library card celebrating Black American history and culture for the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL).
BPL put out a call for design submissions in January and, according to their press release, received submissions from over 400 artists. Nehemiah’s designs feature famous historical figures, including Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson and Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to go to space. Riding a Euclid Avenue-bound C train, they’re seated next to a young girl reading a book titled African American History, a symbol of how the next generation of Black leaders live and breathe among these giants of history.
Illustrated in bright colors, both the full-sized and key ring editions of the cards are beautiful tributes to Black American history, contributions, and culture.
“This achievement helped me learn to honor my hard work and continue to overcome my creative challenges. In the words of my favorite philosopher, Plotinus, ‘I am striving to give back the Divine in myself to the Divine in the All,” Nehemiah stated in the release.
This fall, Nehemiah will join Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences as a member of the class of 2023.
Nehemiah chose to attend a school within The City University of New York (CUNY) system because her mother is a CUNY alumna. As a BMCC graduate, Nehemiah “experienced a sense of community and culture” and when seeking which school to continue her academic career, she “felt welcomed as an English major by advisers at Baruch.”
Anjanay Spence, a CCNY student was also a finalist for the contest. She wanted her artwork to represent “the modern Black community with various complexions, natural hairstyles and genders, I am creating something that I would have loved to have seen growing up,” she said. “Feeling seen and represented is an experience I’d like everyone to have at the library, and I hope this opportunity to celebrate Blackness leaves a lasting impact on the next generation.”
The Black American Library Card became available at Macon Library on Juneteenth and at neighborhood libraries throughout the borough on June 21. Those interested may apply for the card at their local library branch or online.