Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Brief History of Conferences for African American Librarians: The First and Second Negro Library Conferences

As members of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) prepare for the 8th National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL) being held next week (August 7-11, 2013) in Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, here are some brief facts on two conferences held for African American librarians during the early half of the 20th century:

The First Negro Library Conference

The First Negro Library Conference was held March 15-18, 1927 at the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia. Forty librarians were in attendance. Reverend Thomas Fountain Blue, director of the Colored Branches of the Louisville Free Public Library, was the conference organizer.

Keynote Speakers:

Edward Christopher Williams -- Howard University
Florence Rising Curtis -- Hampton Institute Library School
Herbert S. Hirshberg -- State Librarian of Ohio
Louis Shores --  Fisk University
Rachel Davis Harris -- Eastern Colored Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library

Update 08/02/2013: There is a photo of attendees at the First Negro Library Conference on Flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vieilles_annonces/6758169905/in/set-72157623915774564/

Sources: Curtis, Florence Rising. "Colored Librarians in Conference." Library Journal 52.8 (1927): 408. Print. ; "Personals." Library Occurrent 8.2 (1927): 66. Print. ; Jordan, Casper Leroy, and E.J. Josey. "A Chronology of Events in Black Librarianship." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2006. 6. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 60. Print. ; Jones, Reinette. Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky: From the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s. Jefferson: McFarland, 2006. 54. Print. ; "Prominent Woman Returns." Indianapolis Recorder 2 Apr. 1927: 5. Print.


The Second Negro Library Conference
 
The Second Negro Library Conference was held November 20-23, 1930 in Nashville, Tennessee at Fisk University. The number of librarians believed to have attended was 71. Louis Shores, head librarian of Fisk University, served as the chair of the conference committee.

Keynote Speakers:

Wallace Van Jackson  -- Virginia Union University
Tommie Dora Barker  -- American Library Association
Robert M. Lester -- Carnegie Corporation
Arthur Schomburg -- New York Public Library
Monroe N. Work -- Tuskegee Institute
Louis R. Wilson -- University of North Carolina
Adam Strohm -- President of the American Library Association

*A group photo of the attendees of the Second Negro Library Conference is included on page 310 of the following article:  Shores, Louis. "Library Service to Negroes." Wilson Bulletin 5.5 (Jan. 1931): 310-315.Print.

Sources: Shores, Louis. "Negro Library Conference Held." Library Journal 56.1 (Jan. 1, 1931): 40. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 70. Print. ; Jones, Reinette. Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky: From the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s. Jefferson: McFarland, 2006. 56-57. Print. ; Shores, Louis. "Library Service to Negroes." Wilson Bulletin 5.5 (Jan. 1931): 310.Print.

Update 02/05/2014:
(Many thanks to Karen Weaver for bringing this to my attention!)

Individuals who  served with Louis Shores (committee chair) on the Second Negro Library Conference's organizing committee were: Tommie Dora Barker, Robert M. Lester, Adam Strohm, Thomas Fountain Blue, Florence Rising Curtis, Ernestine Rose, Charlotte Templeton, and Edward C. Williams (sadly, Mr. Williams died before the conference was held).

Sources: Jones, Reinette. Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky: From the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s. Jefferson: McFarland, 2006. 88-89. Print. ; Karen Weaver.
.
Update 04/18/2014:

I wrote an article on Indiana librarian Lillian Haydon Childress Hall (1899-1958). Hall was an attendee at both conferences. The article appeared in the recent issue of Indiana Libraries (v. 33, no. 1). Click the link below to access:

Fenton, Michele T. "Stepping Out on Faith: Lillian Haydon Childress Hall, Pioneer Black Librarian." Indiana Libraries 33.1 (2014): 5-11. Print.



3 comments:

  1. What a great content you have on your website. It's really interesting.
    Read More

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  2. The 2nd Conference was also the Dedication Exercises of the new Fisk Library / best Karen W / Pittsburgh

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  3. There were actually 7 committee members who organized the 2nd Conference at Fisk where Louis Shores was Librarian, this is mentioned in the book by Reinette Jones , Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, 2006, p. 88 see via Google Books

    "...Seven committee members organized it:
    Louis S. Shores, Fisk University; Tommie D. Barker, Regional Field Agent for the South; Thomas F. Blue, Head of the Louisville Free Public Library Colored Division; Florence Curtis, Director of Hampton Library School; Ernestine Rose, New York Public Library; and Charlotte Templeton, Greenville, South Carolina, Public Library. Edward Christopher Williams, Howard University Librarian, had also been a member of the committee, but Williams became ill and died in 1929." p. 88 - Jones


    http://books.google.com/books?id=Tc4IWgaqJScC&lpg=PA88&ots=zwgQHaSlr4&dq=fisk%20university%20library%20dedication&pg=PA88#v=onepage&q=fisk%20university%20library%20dedication&f=false

    Interesting topic ,
    Best regards,
    Karen Weaver / Pittsburgh

    ReplyDelete