Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dharathula Millender: Librarian, Author, and Historian -- One of Indiana's Own

Dharathula “Dolly” Hood Millender (1920-2015), a librarian, author, and historian, was born on February 4, 1920 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her parents were Orestes Hood and Daisy Eslick Hood. 

Ms. Millender attended Indiana State Teacher’s College (now Indiana State University) in Terre Haute, Indiana, receiving her undergraduate degree in 1941. She pursued her library science education at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, graduating in 1969 with a Masters of Science in Educational Media. In addition, Ms. Millender was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority and was the wife of Justyn Millender.

Throughout her career, Ms. Millender served as a librarian in various libraries across the country -- working in Maryland, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. (at the Library of Congress). From 1960 until 1978, she was a school librarian at Pulaski Junior High School in Gary, Indiana; and was a member of the Northwest Division of the Indiana State Teachers Association’s Library Section. In addition, she was a member of the Gary Public Library Board and was Gary’s first elected Councilwoman-at-Large.

As a historian and author, Mrs. Millender once served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Gary Historical and Cultural Society, and wrote several books on African American history for children, educators, and adults:

Crispus Attucks, Boy of Valor. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965. Print.

Real Negroes, Honest Settings: Children's and Young People's Books About Negro Life and History. Chicago: American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, 1967. Print.

"Through a Glass Darkly." School Library Journal 15 (Dec. 1967): 29-34. Print.

Yesterday in Gary: A Brief History of the Negro in Gary. Gary, Ind.: D. Millender, 1967. Print.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Boy with a Dream. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969. Print.

Louis Armstrong: Young Music Maker. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1972. Print.

Crispus Attucks, Black Leader of Colonial Patriots. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1982. Print.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Young Man with a Dream. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1983. Print.

“Through A Glass Darkly (Excerpt).” The Black American in Books for Children: Readings in Racism. Ed. MacCann, Donnarae and Gloria Woodard. Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1985. Print.

Millender, Naomi, Bettye Turner, Dharathula H. Millender, and Barbara Polk. The Black History Resource Manual of Classroom Activities: The Cultural Linguistic Approach. Chicago: Cultural Linguistic Approach to Education, 1989. Print.

Gary's Central Business Community. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003. Print.

On Tuesday, February 2, 2010, U.S. Representative Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana honored Ms. Millender on celebrating her 90th birthday (February 4th) and her lifework. In April 2011, the Indiana University-Northwest Chapter of the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club  presented Ms. Millender with the Legacy of Leadership Award.

Ms. Millender passed away at the age of 95 on December 25, 2015 in Gary, Indiana.

In 2012, I compiled a bibliography on Ms. Millender:

Fenton, Michele T. A Bibliography of Books by Author and Librarian Dharathula Millender: With a Brief Biography of Her Life. Indianapolis, Ind.: Little Known Black Librarian Facts, 2012. Print.

Update 05/10/2016:

See related posts: Etka Braboy Gaskin and the Gary Public Library (Gary, Indiana); and Bernice Appleton Wilder: First African American Director of the Gary Public Library (Gary, Indiana).

Sources: “May We Introduce Mrs. Dharathula Millender.” Gary Public Library Bulletin 1973 Jan.: 3. Print. ; “Officers and Committees of Indiana Library Organizations, 1971-1972.” Library Occurrent 24.1 (1972): 20. Print. ; Visclosky, Peter J. “Dolly Millender.” Congressional Record 156.15 (2010): E125-E126. Print. ; Millender, Dharathula H. "Through A Glass Darkly." School Library Journal 15 (1967): 29-34. Print. ; “It’s No Military Secret!” Indianapolis Recorder 1945 Sept. 15: 3. Print. ; “City Observes Crispus Attucks Day in Ceremonies on Circle.” Indianapolis Recorder 1968 Mar. 9: 15. Print. ; Rogers, Clema V. “Eastside News.” Indianapolis Recorder 1979 Jan. 20: 4. Print. ; Grant, George, comp. “Millender, Dharathula (Dolly).” The Directory of Ethnic Professionals in LIS. Winter Park: Four-G Publishers, 1991. 154. Print. ; Wilson, Rose Ann. “Dolly Millender Inspires M.I.S. Students.” Northwest Indiana Times 2012 Apr. 26:n.pag. Web. 2012 Nov. 11. ; Banas, Emily and Charles Shield. “IU Northwest Neal Marshall Club Recognizes 2011 Award Recipients: Student and Community-Centered Service Central to Awardees.” Indiana University Northwest News 2011 Apr. 26:n.pag. Web. 2012 Nov. 11 ; Fenton, Michele T. A Bibliography of Books by Author and Librarian Dharathula Millender: With a Brief Biography of Her Life. Indianapolis, Ind.: Little Known Black Librarian Facts, 2012. Print. ; Davich, Jerry. "Gary Loses Its Beloved Historian on Christmas Day." Chicago Tribune 2015 Dec. 27: n.pag. Web. 2016 Apr. 28.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Carnegie Library Roseau (Roseau, Dominica)

In 1904, Sir Henry Hesketh Bell (1864-1952) reached out to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)  in an effort to persuade him to give a grant for the construction of a public library on the Caribbean island of DominicaCarnegie agreed to provide the grant and in 1905 gave £1,500 for the library's construction. The city of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, was chosen as the library's location. The architecture of the library was managed by Bell and on May 11, 1907 the library was opened to the public. 

Before the building of the Carnegie Library in Roseau,  there were earlier efforts to bring library services to the island of Dominica. In 1821, Dr. Jean Baptiste Louis founded the Literacy Society. Seven years later,  the Roseau Juvenile Literacy Association was established. Other efforts included:

The Dominica Public Circulating Library  (1832).

The Dominica Reading Room and Library (1847).
The Young Men's Literary Association (1849).

The library is still in operation and is now known as the Roseau Public Library. In December 2015, a tribute to the Roseau Public Library was posted to YouTube:

A Tribute to Roseau Public Library

Update 2/07/2016:

See also:  The Carnegie Free Library of Barbados (Bridgetown, Barbados), the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia (Castries, St. Lucia), and the Carnegie Free Library of San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago (San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago).

Sources: Boromé, Joseph A. "Origin and Growth of the Public Libraries of Dominica." Journal of Library History 5.3 (1970): 200-236. Print. ; Jordan, Alma. "Public Libraries in the British Caribbean 1." The Library Quarterly 35.2 (1964): 143-162. Print.  ; Hinds, Beverly. Historical Overview of Public Library Development in the English-Speaking Caribbean. [San Juan, PR]: IFLA, 2011. 1, 3-4, 6, 8. PDF File. ; Whitford, Gwenith M. "West Indian Murder Mystery Donated to Roseau Public Library in Dominica." Ti Domnik Tales. 23 July 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "State of the Art Library for Dominica." Dominica News Online. 14 May 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "Carnegie Library, Roseau, Dominica." 31 Aug. 2008. Web. 30 Jan. 2016; "A Tribute to Roseau Public Library." Dominica Library and Information Service. YouTube. 02 Dec. 2015. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "Cambridge University Library: Royal Commonwealth Society Library, Sir Henry Hesketh Bell Collection, Y3011C-N." Cambridge University Library. Janus, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "Andrew Carnegie." A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia (Castries, St. Lucia)

Located in Castries, St. Lucia, the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia was one of six libraries in the Caribbean built with Carnegie funds. Plans for a library in St. Lucia were discussed in 1909. Seven years later, in May 1916, philanthropist and businessman Andrew Carnegie donated  £2,500 (equivalent to $12,500 in U.S. currency at that time) for the library's construction. Land on which to build the library was purchased for £500 (at that time was about $2,500 in U.S. currency).

Construction of the library didn't began until May 1923 . The delay was due to disagreement between town officials on the library's location and the library's design.  The Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia's construction was finished in June 1924. A grand opening ceremony for the library was held on December 1, 1924.

In 1948, a fire spread through Castries, and the library was one of several buildings  in the town that were damaged.  Approximately, 20,000 volumes in the library's collection were destroyed. Afterwards, the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia was rebuilt, and in 1958, its name was changed to the Central Library of St. Lucia.

On November 25, 2014, Larry T. Nix, blogger for the "Library History Buff Blog", did a post about the St. Lucia Library's appearance on a postcard and the library's history. You can view his post here:

"St. Lucia's Carnegie Library on Carnegie's Birthday" by Larry T. Nix

Update 8/05/2015:

Related posts:  Carnegie Free Library of Barbados (Bridgetown, Barbados) and Carnegie Free Library of San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago.

Also, the Central Library of St. Lucia (formerly the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia) has a Facebook page:

Central Library of St. Lucia

Update 2/07/2016:

Related post: Carnegie Library Roseau (Roseau, Dominica)

Sources: Hinds, Beverly. Historical Overview of Public Library Development in the English-Speaking Caribbean. [San Juan, PR]: IFLA, 2011. 4. PDF File. ; Aimable, Anselma. "Did You Know: Controversy over Central Library." St. Lucia News Online, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 July 2015. ; Nix, Larry T. "St. Lucia's Carnegie Library on Carnegie's Birthday." Library History Buff Blog, 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 27 July 2015.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Poets and Libraries: Countee Cullen Visits the Indianapolis Public Library, 1927

Countee Cullen (1903-1946), a graduate of New York University and Harvard University, was a renowned African American poet, author, and playwright who achieved fame during the Harlem Renaissance. He was also a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an instructor of French, English, and creative writing at Frederic Douglass High School in the Bronx, New York; and wrote a column for Opportunity Magazine called "The Dark Tower". Cullen's first wife, Nina Yolande Du Bois, was the daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois; his second wife was Ida Mae Robertson.

On Saturday, February 26, 1927, Countee Cullen made a visit to the Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library in Indianapolis, Indiana where a tea was held for him by the library's staff. Hallie Beachem Brooks (1907-1985), manager of the Dunbar Branch; and Lillian Haydon Childress Hall (1889-1958), head librarian at the Crispus Attucks Branch served as the program's hostesses. Other attendees present at the tea were Charles E. Rush, director of the Indianapolis Public Library; music teacher Lillian LeMon, singer Lucretia Mitchell, Ada Dodson, Lucille Armsted, Juanita Bobson, Dora Atkins, Murray Atkins, and Sophia Freeman. Attendees at the tea were treated to a poetry reading by Cullen.

Cullen had travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana at the invitation of the Senate Avenue YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association). The Senate Avenue YMCA was preparing its annual recital and wanted Cullen to give a poetry reading at the event. [Note: Founded in 1913, the Senate Avenue YMCA served the African American men and boys of Indianapolis. Madame C.J. Walker gave a gift of $1,000 to aide in the building's construction; Booker T. Washington attended the dedication ceremony].

The Senate Avenue YMCA's recital took place on Friday, February 25, 1927 at Caleb Mills Hall inside Shortridge High School. In addition to Countee Cullen, other performers at the recital included Walter M. Price, a baritone who studied under Oscar Seagel; and the Reginald DuValle Orchestra, also known as the "Ten Blackbirds" (the group's leader, Reginald DuValle worked with musician Hoagy Carmichael and was an alumni of Shortridge High School; DuValle also performed at the 1927 grand opening of the Madame Walker Theatre). [Note: YouTube has a video of Reginald DuValle's son, Reginald Jr. speaking about his father's work with Hoagy Carmichael: ].

Lillian Haydon Childress Hall of the Indianapolis Public Library; Lula Hoss of the All Souls Unitarian Church; Homer Borst of the Indianapolis Community Fund; the Kirshbaum Center; the  Kautz Stationary Company; the Senate Avenue YMCA Committee of Management along with Marimon Hansberry, Ada Dodson, Phyllis Waters, Daisy Payne, J.B. Coleman, J.K. Lilly, and Sue Artis successfully combined their efforts in selling as many tickets as possible to this historic event. [Note: Sue Artis was the wife of Lionel F. Artis. Lionel F. Artis was the assistant secretary of the Senate Avenue YMCA, served as an officer of the Indianapolis branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, served on the board of the Urban League of Indianapolis, worked with the Boy Scouts, and was a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Chicago. His papers are housed at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, Indiana]

Before leaving town, Countee Cullen visited his friend Hale A. Woodruff (1900-1980), an African American painter and muralist famous for the murals "Amistad Mutiny". Woodruff studied under artist Diego Rivera (his wife was painter Frida Kahlo), attended the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis (now the Herron School of Art and Design), and once worked for the Senate Avenue YMCA. In addition, he taught art at Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University and New York University. Mr. Woodruff passed away in 1980 at the age of 80.

Sources: "Negro Poet to Read." Indianapolis News 12 Feb. 1927: 8. Print. ; "Gives Tea for Mr. Cullen." Indianapolis Recorder 5 Mar. 1927: 5 Print. ; Thompson, Aaron Belford. "Welcome to Countee Cullen." Indianapolis Recorder 26 Feb. 1927: 2. Print. ; "Cullen, Price, DuValle Orchestra Recital Promise Treat at Caleb Mills Hall." Indianapolis Recorder 19 Feb. 1927: 5. Print. ; "Author is to Speak at Monster Meeting." Indianapolis News 5 Feb 1927: 3 Print. ; Fenton, Michele T. "Stepping Out on Faith: Lillian Haydon Childress Hall, Pioneer Black Librarian." Indiana Libraries 33.1 (2014): 7. Print. ; Molesworth, Charles. And Bid Him Sing: A Biography of Countee Cullen. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2012. 162-163. Print. ; "Countee Cullen." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 17 May 2015. ; "Wavelengths - Bits of Static." Indianapolis News 10 Feb. 1927: 16. Print. ; Williams, David Leander. Indianapolis Jazz: The Masters, Legends, and Legacy of Indiana Avenue. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2014. 27-29. Print. ; Bolden, C. Nickerson. Indiana Avenue: Entertainment Boulevard. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2009. Print. ; Bundles, A'Lelia. Madam Walker Theatre Center: An Indianapolis Treasure. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2013. Print. ; Warren, Stanley. "The Monster Meetings at the Negro YMCA in Indianapolis." Indiana Magazine of History 91.1 (1995): 57-80. Print. ; Burlock, Melissa Grace. "The Battle Over a Black YMCA and Its Inner-City Community: The Fall Creek Parkway YMCA As a Lens on Indianapolis' Urban Revitalization and School Desegregation, 1959-2003." MA thesis. Indiana University, 2014. PDF file. ; Jennings, Corrine. "Hale Woodruff: African-American Metaphor, Myth, and Allegory." A Shared Heritage: Art by Four African Americans. Ed. William E. Taylor and Harriet G. Warkel. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1996. 78. Print. ; Dunkley, Tina. "Hale Woodruff (1900-1980)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 24 May 2015. ; Yoon, Christina Jin. "Woodruff, Hale Aspacio (1900-1980)." BlackPast., n.d. Web. 24 May 2015. ; Davis, Donald F. "Hale Woodruff of Atlanta: Molder of Black Artists." Journal of Negro History 69.3-4 (1984):147-154. Print. ; Taylor, William E. "Woodruff, Hale Aspacio (Aug. 6, 1900-Sept. 6, 1980)." Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Eds. David J. Bodenhamer and Roger G. Barrows. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1994. 1452. Print.; Taylor, William E. "Hardrick, John Wesley (1891-Oct. 18, 1968)." Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Eds. David J. Bodenhamer and Roger G. Barrows. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1994. 660. Print. ; Pierce, Richard. "Little Progress 'Happens'": Faburn E. DeFrantz and the Indianapolis Senate Avenue YMCA." Indiana Magazine of History 108.2 (2012): 98-103. Print. ; Warren, Stanley. Senate Avenue YMCA: For African American Men and Boys, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1913-1959. Indianapolis: Donning, 2006. Print. ; "Lionel F. Artis Eulogized as Outstanding Leader in the Indianapolis Community." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Sept. 1971: 1, 15. Print. ; "Lionel Artis (Photo)." Indianapolis Recorder 4 Sept. 1971:1. Print. ; "Local Branch of N.A.A.C.P. Elects Officers." Indianapolis Recorder 7 Apr. 1928: 2. Print. ; "Governor Speaks to Y.M.C.A. Men." Indianapolis Recorder 20 Feb. 1926: 1. Print. ; "St. Philip's Episcopal Church." Indianapolis Recorder 18 Sept. 1915: 4. Print. ; "Indianapolis Business Association." Indianapolis Recorder 12 Mar. 1927: 3. Print. ; "Local N.A.A.C.P. Selects Committee for Conference." Indianapolis Recorder 12 Mar. 1927: 2. Print. ; "Y.M.C.A. Notes." Indianapolis Recorder 18 Sept. 1915: 4. Print. ; "Y.M.C.A." Indianapolis Recorder 15 Sept. 1911: 2. Print. ; "Twelfth Annual Lenton Tea to Be Given By Members of St. Monica's Guild." Indianapolis Recorder 6 Mar. 1937: 5. Print. ; "Simpson M.E. Will Observe Anniversary." Indianapolis Recorder 5 Nov. 1932: 3. Print. ; "Guidance Program for H.S. Seniors." Indianapolis Recorder 21 May 1932: 6. Print. ; "Kappas Will Give Prom Soon." Indianapolis Recorder 21 May 1932: 6. Print. ; "Lockefield Rents on Same Level as Slum Houses." Indianapolis Recorder 15 May 1937: 1.Print. ; Skeleton, Robert E. "Donations Received for Drum and Bugle Corps." Indianapolis Recorder 6 Mar. 1936. 5. Print.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jean Blackwell Hutson (1914-1998): Culture Keeper Extraordinaire

Jean Blackwell Hutson (1914-1998), a native of Sommerfield, Florida, was the curator and chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture from 1948 until 1980. Hutson was a culture keeper extraordinaire in that she worked tirelessly to ensure the acquisition, preservation, and promotion of materials relating to African and African American history.

Ms. Hutson was born Jean Frances Blackwell on September 3, 1914 in Sommerfield, Florida. She was the daughter of Paul Blackwell, a farmer and commission merchant; and Sarah Myers Blackwell, a teacher. Ms. Hutson later moved to Baltimore, Maryland. She was the class valedictorian when she graduated in 1929 from Douglass High School, a high school for African Americans in Baltimore. After high school, Ms. Hutson briefly attended the University of Michigan before transferring to Barnard College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1935. In 1936, she received her library science degree from Columbia University. In addition, Ms. Hutson was a member of Delta Sigma Theta.

She began her library career at the New York Public Library. She worked at the 135th Street Branch where she was mentored by library pioneer Ernestine Rose. Ms. Hutson also worked at the Harlem Branch, the Countee Cullen Branch, the Woodstock Branch, and the Washington Heights Branch. In 1939, Ms. Hutson married songwriter Andy Razaf (1895-1973). From 1939 until 1942, Ms. Hutson was a school librarian at the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland. She returned to the New York Public Library in 1942. Her marriage to Andy Razaf ended in divorce in 1947.

In 1948, Ms. Hutson became chief of the Schomburg Research Center. While serving as chief of the Schomburg Research Center, Ms. Hutson married John Hutson in 1950 (the couple had one child, Jean Frances Hutson); was an adjunct professor in history at City College of New York (CUNY) from 1962 until 1971; and an assistant librarian from 1964 until 1965 at the University of Ghana where she managed the Africana collection. Also during Hutson's time at Schomburg, the center received money from the Ford Foundation, the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA), and 3M enabling the creation of  an archival program, the hiring of additional personnel to perform preservation work, and the microfilming of the Schomburg Research Center's collection. In addition, Hutson helped secure federal funds to have a new building created for the Schomburg Center (the new facility opened in 1981); was a member of the African Studies Association and the Africana Librarians Council; and participated in the National Commission on Libraries Task Force on Library and Information Services to Cultural Minorities.

Ms. Hutson left the Schomburg Research Center in 1980 and worked as the Assistant Director, Collection Management and Development, Black Studies at the New York Public Library's main branch, retiring in 1984. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 83. The Jean Blackwell Hutson Library Residency Program, a diversity program that ran from 1992 until 2007, was created in her honor by the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Related post: Arthur Schomburg, 1874-1938: Noted Bibliophile, Collector, Curator, and Scholar

Sources: A Directory of Negro Graduates of Accredited Library School, 1900-1936. Washington: Columbia Civic Library Association, 1937. 7. Print. ; Kaiser, Ernest. "Library Holdings on African Americans." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva L. DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 254, 261. Print. ; "Jean Blackwell Hutson, Ex-Chief of Schomburg Center Dies." Jet 93.13 (1998): 17. Print. ; Whitaker, Charles. "Schomburg Center Celebrates 75th Anniversary." Ebony 56.1 (2000): 144-146, 148, 150. Print. ; "Schomburg Center: Harlem's Gold Mine of Black Research Material." Ebony 37.11 (1982): 62-63, 66. Print. ; "Black History Prophets and Custodians: Handful of Men and Women Created Foundations of Saga of Persistence and Creativity." Ebony 50.4 (1995): 90. Print. ; Shockley, Ann Allen. "Librarians, Archivists, and Writers: A Personal Perspective." Ed. E.J. Josey. The Black Librarian in America Revisited. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1994. 321. Print. ; Cooper, Glendora Johnson. "African American Historical Continuity: Jean Blackwell Hutson and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture." Reclaiming the American Library Past: Writing the Women In. Ed. Suzanne Hildenbrand. Norwood: Ablex, 1996. 27-51. Print. ; Sinnette, Elinor D. V. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, Black Bibliophile & Collector: A Biography. New York: New York Public Library, 1989. 218. Print. ; Sink, Bob. "Ernestine Rose (1880-1961)." NYPL Librarians. N.p., 19 Mar. 2011. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; Biddle, Stanton. "'A Partnership in Progress': The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture." Crisis 85.10 (Dec. 1978): 330-337. Print. ; Easterbrook, David L. "Jean Blackwell Hutson, 1914-1998." ASA News (Apr./June 1999): 5. Print. ; Sink, Bob. "Jean Frances Blackwell Hutson (1914-1998)." NYPL Librarians. N.p., 4 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; "Legacies Live On Despite '98 Celebrity Deaths." The Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.) 22 Dec. 1998: C5. Print. ; "Goodbye: World Loses Entertainers in '98." The Kerrville Times (Kerrville, Tex.) 27 Dec. 1998: 3. Print. ; "Year: Entertainers Lost This Year Include Eddie Rabbitt and Flip Wilson." The Index-Journal (Greenwood, S.C.) 27 Dec. 1998: 2C. Print. ; Wolf, Gillian. "Hutson, Jean Blackwell 1914-." Contemporary Black Biography., 1998. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; Smith, Dinitia. "Jean Hutson, Schomburg Chief, Dies at 83." The New York Times. The New York Times, 7 Feb. 1998. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Task Force on Library and Information Services to Cultural Minorities: Report. Washington, D.C.: National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, 1983. 105. PDF File. ; Wedin, Carolyn. "Hutson, Jean Blackwell." Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century. Vol. 1. Ed. Paul Finkelman. New York, N.Y.: Oxford UP, 2009. 480-481. Print.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Integration and the Anniston Public Library, Anniston, Alabama

The Anniston Public Library was built in 1918 with a grant of $20,000 from Andrew Carnegie on the corner of Wilmer Avenue and East 10th Street in Anniston, Alabama. The Anniston Public Library was one of 14 Carnegie libraries established in the State of Alabama. Like many libraries during the pre-Civil Rights Era, the Anniston Public Library was segregated. On Thursdays and on the first Sunday of the month, the Anniston Public Library set aside special hours for the city's African American residents to use the library.

In July 1963, a group of African Americans came to the Anniston Public Library to request library cards; however, no cards were issued because the board was waiting to receive word from city officials on whether the group's requests should be honored. In August of the same year, an African American minister by the name of Rev. Jackson came to the library and requested to view The Interpreter's Bible. The staff honored Rev. Jackson's request; however, Jackson was told that he couldn't use the book in the reading room and would have to read it in one of the offices in the library instead. Upon hearing this, Jackson decided to leave the library. These events lead the city and the library board to open the Anniston Public Library to all of  Anniston's citizens regardless of race. Sunday, September 15, 1963 was selected as the start date for integration.

On Sunday, September 15, 1963, two African American ministers came to the Anniston Public Library. The ministers, Reverend William B. McClain and Reverend Nimrod Quintus Reynolds, were members of the Anniston Human Relations Council.  The council and the library board were working together to desegregate the library. When Rev. McClain and Rev. Reynolds reached the library, a mob of angry whites attacked them (the number of persons in the mob was estimated to be around 100). The mob struck the ministers with sticks, fists, and a chain. McClain and Reynolds tried to escape by car, but were blocked in. They left the car and ran. Fortunately, a motorist saw them and picked up McClain and Reynolds, helping them to escape. The two ministers were taken to Anniston Memorial Hospital (now Regional Medical Center).

On Monday, September 16, 1963, accompanied by members of the library board, Rev. J. Phillips Noble (chair of the Anniston Human Relations Council), and officials of the city of Anniston, Rev. McClain returned to the Anniston Public Library. McClain and another African American minister, George Smitherman were issued library cards (Rev. Reynolds was still recovering from the injuries he received during the attack and was unable to participate; George Smitherman went instead). There was no violence or attempts to keep McClain and Smitherman from visiting the library.

The mayor of Anniston, the Board of the Anniston Public Library, the Rotary Club, the Anniston Star (local newspaper), and the women of Grace Episcopal Church contributed to a reward totaling $2,950 for the capture of the persons responsible for the mob attack at the library. The police arrested four men. One was found guilty; however, the case was dismissed at the request of the victims.

In 1964, the Anniston Public Library's name was changed to Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County after merging with the Calhoun County Library. A new building, with a construction cost of $359,397.12, was planned as a replacement for the Carnegie building. Completed in 1966, the new building, funded by $59,397.12 from city; $150,00 from the estate of Luther B. Liles (Liles was once an officer in the Manganese Corporation, chairman of the Good Roads Committee of the United States Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Birmingham-Atlanta Division of the Bankhead Highway Association); and $150,000 from federal funds received by the state, opened to the public. The library is still in operation.

*Note: Sunday, September 15, 1963 was also the same day that the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama occurred. Four children were killed: Cynthia Wesley, Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, and Carole Robinson. In 2013, a bill, H.R. 360, was introduced into the United States Congress to have a Congressional Gold Medal issued in honor of the memory of the four girls killed in the bombing. The bill passed both the House and the Senate, and was signed into law (Public Law 113-11) by President Barack Obama on May 24, 2013.

Update 11/03/2014:

See related posts:

The Tougaloo Nine and the Sit-in at the Jackson Mississippi Municipal Library

The Robert Robinson Branch of the Alexandria Public Library (Alexandria, VA) and the 1939 Sit-Down Strike

Update 11/09/2014:

On YouTube, Rev. Nimrod Q. Reynolds, one of the two ministers attacked by the mob, and Charlie Doster, a member of the library board in 1963, recall the attack at the Anniston Public Library (begins at minute 13 and ends at minute 16):

Sources: "Hit Clergyman with Chains in Anniston: Negro Ministers Members of Biracial Committee on Social Problems." Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.) 16 Sept. 1963: 1. Print. ; "Ministers Integrate Ala. Public Library." The Kane Republican (Kane, Pa.) 17 Sept. 1963: 1. Print. ; "Ministers Enter 'Bama! Library." The Hillsdale Daily News (Hillsdale, Mich.) 17 Sept. 1963: 1. Print. ; Cutter, Jamie Irene. Getting by at the Benjamin Mays Black Branch: Library Access for African Americans in Jim Crow South Carolina, 1940-1971. MLIS thesis. San Jose State University, 2011. 57, 120. Pdf. ; "Racial Highlights." Wellsville Daily Reporter (Wellsville, N.Y.) 16 Sept. 1963: 1. Print. ; "Attacks Charged: Two Indicted in City Cases." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 18 Oct. 1963: 1,3.  Print. ; Chisum, James. "Conferences Delay Start of Trials; Williams Confers with Attorneys." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 12 Nov. 1963: 1, 3. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 128-129. Print. ; Graham, Toby Patterson. A Right to Read: Segregation and Civil Rights in Alabama's Public Libraries, 1900-1965. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2002. 93-96. Print. ; O'Dell, Kimberly. Anniston. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2002. 19, 49-50, 58, 71, 79. Print. ; "Mother Tells of Bombing: I Began to Scream..." The Fresno Bee-The Republican (Fresno, Calif.) 17 Sept. 1963: 4A. Print. ; Loh, Jules. "Bomb Shakes City to Its Core." The High Point Enterprise (High Point, N.C.) 22 Sept. 1963: 1A, 6A. Print. ; Thomas, Rex. "Birmingham Quiet but Still Nervous." The High Point Enterprise (High Point, N.C.) 22 Sept. 1963: 1A. Print. ; An Act to Award Posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Denise Mcnair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley to Commemorate the Lives They Lost 50 Years Ago in the Bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Where These 4 Little Black Girls' Ultimate Sacrifice Served As a Catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2013. PDF. ; "Luther B. Liles Will Seek Vote on Bond Issue: Graves Will Be Asked to Call Special Session of Legislature." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 8 Sept. 1930: 1, 7. Print. ; "Highway Meet Attracts 100 to Talladega: Luther B. Liles Represents Anniston Chamber of Commerce at Conference." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 20 June 1933: 1. Print. ; McCaa, John. "Commission Adopts Operational Budget of $2,741,220: Library, Road Hike City Budget Near $3 Million Mark." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 27 Oct. 1965: 6. Print. ; Plott, Bill. "Tribute Paid Liles at Library Opening." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 31 Oct. 1966: 1, 7. Print. ; "Sign Tells Hopes." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 2 June 1964: 1. Print. ; "Mayor." The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) 1 Jan. 1964: 20. Print.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Indiana Black Librarians Network (IBLN): Empowering Indiana's African American Librarians and Paraprofessionals

An affiliate chapter of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Indiana Black Librarians Network (IBLN) was officially organized on October 13, 2001 at the Black Culture Center Library of Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana. It is the first library association in Indiana created for African Americans. The purpose of the Indiana Black Librarians Network is “to provide an opportunity for black librarians to exchange and share ideas, collaborate on library-related projects, promote professional development activities, sponsor scholarship initiatives, serve as a network for the sharing of information between librarians and paraprofessionals throughout the State of Indiana, and to establish channels of communication between black librarians and paraprofessionals statewide.” 

In the summer of 2005, the Indiana Black Librarians Network launched its website.  It also launched its listserv. The Indiana Black Librarians Network gave its first conference presentation at the 2008 Indiana Library Federation (ILF) Conference in Indianapolis on November 19, 2008. The title of the presentation was “Always Here: History of Blacks in Librarianship in Indiana.”  Also, in 2008, the Indiana Black Librarians Network became one of several supporting organizations for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) -funded Indiana Librarians Leading Diversity Fellowship Program (I-LLID). This fellowship program was established to educate and recruit minorities into the library and information science profession in Indiana. Several members of the Indiana Black Librarians Network signed on to serve as mentors for the students in the program.

By the fall of 2009, the Indiana Black Librarians Network had a Facebook page, a Twitter page, and a group blog on Black Librarian Nation, a social networking site founded by Marcellaus Joiner in 2008 for African American librarians.  On October 14-15, 2011, the Indiana Black Librarians Network celebrated its tenth anniversary. The celebration was held at the Black Culture Center Library on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana --- the place where the Indiana Black Librarians Network was organized and held its first meeting. Roland Parrish, a Purdue alumnus and CEO/owner of Parrish McDonald’s Ltd., was the keynote speaker. A year earlier, Parrish gave a gift of $2 million to Purdue University’s Management and Economic Library (the library was re-named the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics – the first library on the Purdue campus to be named for an African American). Other speakers included Jos Holman (BCALA President, 2010-2012) and Pamela Goodes (associate editor for American Libraries Magazine).

In April 0f 2013, the Indiana Black Librarians Network held a meet-n-greet reception for African American attendees of the 2013 Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference (held in Indianapolis). The reception was held at the Crispus Attucks Museum on the campus of Crispus Attucks High School. The program was informal, allowing attendees to network and meet other library professionals from across the country. Light refreshments were served. The reception was such a success that IBLN decided to plan one for the 2014 Public Library Association Conference (PLA).

In March of 2014, IBLN held a meet-n-greet at the Indiana State Library for African American librarians who were in town for the 2014 Public Library Association (PLA) Conference. The program was informal, allowing attendees to network and meet other library professionals from across the country. Light refreshments were served. Like the previous meet-n-greet, this one was also a success.

On Sunday, June 29, 2014, at the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Membership Meeting and Literary Awards Program held during the 2014 American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Indiana Black Librarians Network received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Affiliate Chapter of the Year Award (the New York Black Librarians Caucus was the co-recipient).

As the Indiana Black Librarians Network looks to the future, it is hoped that the organization will continue to grow and evolve in its mission to serve, support, and encourage the African American librarians of Indiana.

See related posts:  Purdue University Black Cultural Center (West Lafayette, Indiana) ; and Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana).

Update 12/01/2014:

See related posts: Willa Resnover and the Norwood Library (Indianapolis, Indiana) ; Lillian Sunshine Haydon Childress Hall: Pioneer in the History of Library Services to African Americans in Indiana ; and Hallie Beachem Brooks: Librarian, Professor, and Indiana Native.

Sources: "About." Indiana Black Librarians Network. Indiana Black Librarians Network, n.d. Web. 4 July 2014. ; Washington, Dorothy Ann. "Indiana Black Librarians Network." BCALA Newsletter 32.1 (2003): 29. Print. ; Dartis, Michelle. "Indiana Black Librarians Network Celebrates 10th Anniversary." BCALA Newsletter 39.3 (2012): 6. Print. ; "Indiana Black Librarians Network Marks 10th Year." American Libraries (Online). American Library Association, n.d. Web. 4 July 2014. ; Piotrowicz, Rebekah. "BCC to Host Indiana Black Librarians Network Conference." University News Service. Purdue University, 3 Oct. 2011. Web. 4 July 2014. ; Holliday, Deloice and Michele Fenton. "We Need Some Color Up Here: Educating and Recruiting Minority Librarians in Indiana." The 21st Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges. Eds. Andrew P. Jackson, Julius Jefferson, Jr., and Akilah S. Nosakhere. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2012. 143-146. Print. ; Freeman, Rodney. "A Snapshot of Indiana's Librarians Leading in Diversity Fellowship Participants After the Program Has Concluded." Indiana Libraries 33.1 (2014): 12-15. Print. ; Smith-Woodard, Marcia. "The Importance of Achieving Diversity in Libraries." Indiana Libraries 31.1 (2012): 50-53. Print. ; "ILF Member Elected as President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA)." Focus on Indiana Libraries 64.9 (2010): 3. Print. ; Holman, Jos. "Making the Grade as an African American Library Director in a Majority Community." The 21st Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges. Eds. Andrew P. Jackson, Julius Jefferson, Jr., and Akilah S. Nosakhere. Ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2012. 143-146. Print. ; "Local Librarian to Be Recognized." Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Ind.) 30 Aug. 2014:n.pag. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. ; "2013 ILF Awardees." Focus on Indiana Libraries 67.9 (2013): 3. PDF. ; "Indiana Librarians Honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association." Focus on Indiana Libraries 67.9 (2013): 10. PDF. ; Page, John S. "BCALA National Conference Awards and Honors Recipients Named (Press Release)." Black Caucus, Inc., American Library Association 30 June 2013: 1-2. PDF. ; Alston, Jason. "BCALA Announces 2014 Presidential Awards Recipients (Press Release)." Black Caucus, Inc., American Library Association 19 June 2014: 1-2. PDF.