Friday, June 26, 2020

1928 Indiana Library Association Meeting and the Hotel Lincoln

African American librarians experiencing discrimination and prejudice while attending library conferences was not unique to the 1936 ALA Conference in Richmond, Virginia. Similar incidents have happened at other library conferences.

During the 1928 Indiana Library Association Meeting (now the Indiana Library Federation Conference) in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Hotel Lincoln changed its rules and allowed African American attendees to use the hotel's elevators. This made it easier for African American librarians to attend sessions of the conference held on the higher floors of the building. However, one rule stayed in place: African Americans were not allowed to book rooms at the hotel and had to seek accommodations elsewhere.

The Hotel Lincoln, named for United States President Abraham Lincoln, was built in 1918 and was located on the corner of West Washington Street and Kentucky Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. The hotel hosted numerous conferences and conventions during its years of operation, and was where Robert F. Kennedy and his campaign crew stayed during the Indiana Primary in 1968. The hotel was torn down in 1973. 

Sources: Howard, Edward Allen. "Indiana Library Association." Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Ed. Kent Allen, Harold Lancour, and Jay Daily. Vol. 11. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1974. 447. Print. ; "Indiana Library Association 37th Annual Conference and Indiana Library Trustees Association 20th Annual Conference: Indianapolis, November 21, 22, 23, 1928." Library Occurrent 9.1 (1929): 2-9. Print. ; Secker, William R. "The New Fireproof Hotel Lincoln, Indianapolis." Hotel Monthly 20.305 (1918): 44-55. Print.

Update 7/27/2020:  

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