Becoming Billie Holiday, by Baltimore's Carole Boston-Weatherford, has won the American Library Association's Coretta Scott King Award. According to the ALA website, the award is "given to an African American author for an outstandingly inspirational and educational contribution. The books promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream. The Award is further designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood."
Weatherford considers Holiday her muse and has said she felt the iconic singer was whispering in her ear as she wrote the book, which is comprised of nearly 100 poems named after Holiday's songs. Weatherford will read from the book on July 17th, at the re-dedication of artist Jim Reid's Billie Holiday statue on Pennsylvania Avenue. The event, which begins at 10 am, also marks the 50th anniversary of Holiday's death. The statue was erected two decades ago, but, because of budget concerns, was never installed to Reid's satisfaction—it lacked the black marble pedestal Reid had always envisioned for it. Jim Burger wrote about Reid's efforts to fully complete the monument in the July 2005 issue of Baltimore. Soon after, the city promised to rectify the situation. It took four years, but Reid's statue will be reinstalled today—atop the marble pedestal!