In conjunction with the community-wide reading initiative, “Gulf Coast Reads,” Fort Bend County Libraries will present a special historical re-enactment of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd’s role of reading the news to rural Texans in 1870, from the novel News of the World, written by Paulette Jiles. The event will take place on Thursday, October 26, beginning at 7:00 pm, in the Meeting Room of George Memorial Library, located at 1001 Golfview in Richmond.
Dressed in period attire, professional speaker and former radio announcer Arthur Richardson will play the role of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly Confederate veteran who earns a living by traveling to small towns in Texas, where residents who are starved for news and entertainment will pay to hear him read the latest news.
As Captain Kidd, Richardson will read authentic 1870s news stories from Dallas and Galveston. Guests from the George Ranch Historical Park, also in period attire, will be in attendance to add to the frontier town atmosphere. Those attending the event will have an opportunity to experience and understand the isolation, hardships, and thirst for news of the outside world that settlers on the Texas frontier often felt.
In his early years, Arthur Richardson worked as an announcer in radio broadcasting. Later, he wrote and directed his own weekly television program. He served for nine years as the president of Westmar University in Iowa, before establishing his own speaking and consulting practice. He has traveled around the world as a professional speaker.
Set in post-Civil War Texas, News of the World is a historical-fiction novel about Captain Kidd and a 10-year-old girl named Johanna who was rescued four years after being kidnapped by Kiowa warriors. In Wichita Falls, Kidd is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver Johanna to her relatives in San Antonio. After living with the Kiowa since the age of six, Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and rejects any attempt to “civilize” her. The 400-mile journey south leads them through dangerous territory and unforgiving terrain. Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Fort Bend County Libraries joins a number of libraries, schools, colleges, museums, bookstores, and other organizations in the Gulf Coast region for the “Gulf Coast Reads” reading initiative to restore reading to the center of American culture. Communities around the area are encouraged to come together to read and discuss one book.
The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call George Memorial Library at 281-342-4455 or the library system’s Public Information Office at 281-633-4734.