Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Short History of Library Service to African Americans in North Carolina

December 2011 and March 2012, featured blog posts on two libraries in North Carolina that provided services to African Americans during the Pre-Civil Rights Era: The  George Moses Horton Branch of the Forsyth County Public Library (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) and the 51st Library of Camp Montford Point (Jacksonville, North Carolina). Below are some additional libraries that provided  services to African Americans in North Carolina during the Pre-Civil Rights Era:

The first public library for African Americans in North Carolina was the Brevard Street Library of Charlotte, North Carolina. It was in operation from 1905 until 1961. Allegra Westbrooks (1921- ), the first African American supervisor in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library System, served as the Brevard Street Library's manager from 1947 until 1961.

Sources: Ryckman, Patricia. Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County: A Century of Service. Charlotte: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1989. n. pag. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 30, 55. Print. ; Speller, Benjamin F. and James R. Jarrell. "Profile of Pioneers: Selected North Carolina Black Librarians." The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 74, 78. Print. ; Bolling, Christina. "Our Living History." Charlotte Observer 15 Feb. 2005: 1B. Print. ; Ordonez, Franco. "Our Living History." Charlotte Obeserver 16 Feb. 2006: 1B. Print. ; Perlmutt, Davidi. "Allegra Westbrooks: Librarian." Charlotte Observer 4 Feb. 2009: 1B. Print. ; Perlmutt, David. "Black History Month: Crossing the Barrier." Charlotte Observer 1 Feb. 2009: 1A. Print. ; "Allegra Westbrooks: The First African-American Public Library Supervisor in North Carolina." All Things Amy. All Things Amy, 4 Feb. 2009. Web. 9 Jan. 2011. ; Nix, Larry T. "Allegra Westbrooks." Library History Buff Blog. Library History Buff, 4 Feb. 2009. Web. 9 Jan. 2011. ; "BCALA United Stateline News - North Carolina." BCALA Newsletter 37.3 (2009): 14. Print. ; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library. ; Du Mont, Rosemary Ruhig and William Caynon. "Education of Black Librarians." Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Ed. Kent Allen, Harold Lancour, and Jay Daily. Vol. 45, suppl. 10. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1990. 111. Print.

 
The Richard B. Harrison Library in Raleigh, North Carolina opened in 1935. The library was founded by Mollie Huston Lee (1907-1982), the first African American librarian in Wake County. The Richard B. Harrison Library is still in operation today, and is part of the Wake County Public Library.

Sources: "Richard B. Harrison Library History." Richard B. Harrison Library, Mollie Huston Lee Collection, 14 Apr. 2005. Wake County Government. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. ; Speller, Benjamin F. and James R. Jarrell. "Profiles of Pioneers: Selected North Carolina Black Librarians." The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 78-81. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 74, 76, 88. Print. ; Grant, George, comp. "Richard B. Harrison Community Library." In Honor of: Libraries Named for African Americans. Jonesboro: Grant House Publishers, 2011. 155. Print.
 

In 1942, the Cumberland County Public Library of North Carolina established the James Walker Hood Library. Built with money from the Work Projects Administration (WPA), the James Walker Hood Library served the African American citizens of Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 1955, the branch was renamed the Gillespie Street Branch Library. The Gillespie Street Branch Library remained in operation until May 10, 1986.

Sources: "Library History & Timeline." Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center. Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center, 2007. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. ; "Selected Milestones in Cumberland County's History." Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center. Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center, 2007. Web. 31 Aug. 2013 ; "Gillespie Street Branch of the Cumberland County Library." Message from Local and State History Room, Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center. 8 Sept. 2013. E-mail.
 

In 1913, the Durham Colored Library was established in the basement of White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina. Three years later, the library moved out of the church and into its own separate building. Hattie Wooten was the first librarian (1916-1932). In 1940, the library was renamed the Stanford L. Warren Library. In 1962, Bragtown Branch Library, another library for African Americans, was opened. In 1966, both libraries were merged with the Durham County Public Library. They are still in operation today.

Sources: Jacobs, Jessica Harland. "This History of Public Library Service in Durham, 1897-1997." Durham County Public Library. Durham County Public Library, n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2011. ; Grant, George, comp. "Stanford L. Warren Branch - Durham County Library." In Honor of: Libraries Named for African Americans. Jonesboro: Grant House Publishers, 2011. 147. Print.
 
 
The Market Street Branch Library (also known as the Asheville Colored Library) of the Buncombe County Library System served the African American citizens of Asheville, North Carolina from 1929 until 1961. In the fall of 1961, through the efforts of the Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality (ASCORE), the library system was integrated.

Sources: "Special Events Recognize the 50th Anniversary of the Desegregation of Pack Memorial Library." Urban News 12 Oct. 2011: n.pag. The Urban News Publishing Co. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 61, 127. Print. ; Hendrick, Irene O. "Annual Report of the Colored Public Library, 1946-1947." Transforming the Tar Heel State: The Legacy of Public Libraries in North Carolina. State Library of North Carolina, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. ; "Irene O. Hendrick." United States Census, 1920. FamilySearch.org, n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2013. ; "Irene O. Stewart Hendrick." North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994. FamilySearch.org, n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2013.


The Carnegie Negro Library of Greensboro, North Carolina began service in 1905. In 1964, the library was renamed the Southeast Branch Library, and later in the 1990s was called the Vance H. Chavis Branch. The Chavis Branch is part of the Greensboro Public Library System and is still in operation.

Sources: Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 57, 127. Print. ; Grant, George, comp. "Vance H. Chavis Lifelong Learning Branch - Greensboro Public Library." In Honor of: Libraries Named for African Americans. Jonesboro: Grant House Publishers, 2011. 150. Print. ; "Carnegie Negro Library Report, 1946." Transforming the Tar Heel State: The Legacy of Public Libraries in North Carolina. State Library of North Carolina, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2011.
 

The Granville Street Library in Oxford, North Carolina began service in 1942. This library served the town's African American residents. The library merged with the Richard H. Thornton Library (main branch of the Granville County Library System) in the 1970s.

Sources: "Granville Street Library." Photo. Transforming the Tar Heel State: The Legacy of Public Libraries in North Carolina. State Library of North Carolina, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. ; "Oxford Public Library Negro Branch (Exterior)." Photo. Transforming the Tar Heel State: The Legacy of Public Libraries in North Carolina. State Library of North Carolina, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2011.
 

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