Friday, November 30, 2012

George Washington Carver Library (Jackson, Mississippi) and Its Role in the Tougaloo Nine Sit-in

The George Washington Carver Library was established in 1950 to provide library service to African Americans in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1951, it became a branch of the Jackson Library System (now the Jackson-Hinds Library System) and moved into a new building in 1956. The Carver Library played a pivotal role in the sit-in organized by the "Tougaloo Nine", a group of nine students from Tougaloo College:

Joseph Jackson, Jr.
Geraldine Edwards *
James Bradford
Evelyn Pierce
Albert Lassiter
Ethel Sawyer
Meredith Anding
Janice Jackson
Alfred Cook

On March 27, 1961, the "Tougaloo Nine" visited the Carver Library to ask for books that weren't in the library's collection and then went to the main branch of the Jackson Public Library which had the books they were looking for. After finding the books, the students decided to stay in the main branch of the Jackson Public Library and read them. At that time African Americans were not permitted to use the Jackson Public Library's main branch. When asked to leave, the students refused and were arrested. The following year, four other African American students attempted to integrate the library by organizing a sit-in. They unlike their predecessors were not arrested. Eventually the library system was integrated. The Carver Library ceased operation in 1976.

See related post: The Tougaloo Nine and the Sit-in at the Jackson Mississippi Municipal Library

Update 12/09/2012:
* Click on the link below for a video on YouTube of Geraldine Hollis (maiden name - Geraldine Edwards) speaking on her experience as one of the Tougaloo Nine:

Ms. Hollis also wrote a book about her life and experiences in Mississipi, called Back in Mississippi. It was published in 2011 by Xlibris Corporation.

Update 12/11/2012:
Twenty-two years earlier, five African American men were arrested for their attempt to receive service at the Barrett Branch of the Alexandria Public Library in Alexandria, Virginia:

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

Update 2/28/2013:

The George Washington Carver Library is briefly mentioned in the following article:

McAllister, Dorothy. "Library Service to the Colored Race." Mississippi Library News 17.2 (1953):112-113.Print.

The library sit-in by the "Tougaloo Nine" is briefly mentioned in the following article:

Cook, Karen. "Struggles Within: Lura G. Currier, the Mississippi Library Commission, and Library Services to African Americans." Information & Culture 48.1 (2013):136-137. Print.

Sources: Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 105. Print. ; Grant, George, comp. "George Washington Carver Municipal Library (1956-1976)." In Honor of: Libraries Named for African Americans. Jonesboro: Grant House Publishers, 2011. 119. Print. ; Lasseter, Cheryl. "Members of Tougaloo Nine Look Back at Historic Day." (Channel 3 - Jackson, Mississippi). WorldNow, 14 Oct. 2006. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. ; McBride, Earnest. "Hamer Forum Pays Tribute to Tougaloo 9." Jackson Jackson Advocate (Jackson, Miss.), 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. ; "Remembering the Jackson Movement." Mississippi History Newsletter (Aug. 2006): 1-2. Print. ; "4 Young Negroes Integrate Mississippi Library." Jet 22.15 (1962): 24. Print.

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