Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Educators and Libraries: Isaac Fisher (1877-1957)

Isaac Fisher (1877-1957), a native of East Carroll Parish, Louisiana and the son of former slaves, was the valedictorian of Tuskegee Institute's (Tuskegee University) graduating class of 1898. Fisher was also the first African American to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was awarded the fellowship in 1926.

In addition to being a Guggenheim Fellow, Fisher was an educator, speaker, writer, editor, and conference organizer. He was often called upon to deliver speeches and keynote addresses at graduations, programs, conventions, and other events. Some of Fisher's speeches include:

  • "Will America Absorb the Negro?" -- Delivered in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1893 to raise money for the train fare he needed to travel to Tuskegee, Alabama to attend Tuskegee Institute (Tuskegee University).
  •  "Has the Negro Kept Faith?" -- Delivered at the 1910 centennial celebration of the life of abolitionist Theodore Parker.
  • "The Unfinished Task." Delivered in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1934 at Crispus Attucks High School.

Fisher served as editor of The Southern Workman (published by Hampton Institute (now Hampton University)), The Fisk University News (published by Fisk University), and The Negro Farmer (published by Tuskegee Institute). In addition, Fisher once served as Tuskegee Institute's official news correspondent and had the honor of interviewing George Washington Carver (ca. 1864?-1943), a professor of agriculture at the institute and the 1923 winner of the Spingarn Medal.

As an educator, Fisher taught at the Schofield School in Aiken, South Carolina; served as principal of the Swayne Public School in Montgomery, Alabama; was principal of the Branch Normal College (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; taught journalism and argumentation (debate) at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee; and headed the Department of Research and Publications at Florida A & M College (Florida A & M University) in Tallahassee, Florida.

His connection with libraries:

  • While a student at Tuskegee Institute, Isaac Fisher built his own private library with the assistance of Margaret Murray Washington (1865-1925) the wife of Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington (1856-1915).

  • In 1904, seeking to improve access to books and other information sources for students at Branch Normal College, Isaac Fisher made a request to Andrew Carnegie for funds to build a library for the college. However, Fisher's request was denied.  The reason given: "not a good business investment to give a library to a school which constructed only three buildings -- a classroom building, a girls' dormitory, and an industrial shop -- in twenty-nine years" (from page 1 of the Wednesday, June 6, 1906 issue of the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, a local newspaper).

  • On Friday, June 1, 1934, Isaac Fisher gave his speech "The Unfinished Task" at the graduation ceremony for Crispus Attucks High School, a high school for African Americans in Indianapolis, Indiana (the school is now integrated).  Housed inside the high school was the Crispus Attucks Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library, one of three library branches located in predominately African American neighborhoods in Indianapolis. The Crispus Attucks Branch Library was in operation from 1927-1959.

Fisher passed away on Friday, August 23, 1957 in Minnesota.

Sources: "200 Attucks Graduates in Commencement Exercises ; Prof. Isaac Fisher Speaks." Indianapolis Recorder (Indianapolis, Ind.) 2 June 1934: 1, 3. Print. ; "Attucks Class Gets Diplomas: Need of Providing for Material Things Stressed by Virginian." Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Ind.) 2 June 1934: 12. Print. ; "Branch Normal: Closing Exercises of State Colored School One of Greatest Successes in History of the Institution --- The Great Work Accomplished by Principal Isaac Fisher." Pine Bluff Daily Graphic (Pine Bluff, Ark.) 6 June 1906: 1. Print. ; "Isaac Fisher Again Winner: Colored Man Awarded Prize in Magazine Contest : Nine Thousand Competed." Indianapolis Recorder (Indianapolis, Ind.) 19 Sept. 1914: 1, 4. Print. ; "Mr. Fisher Wins Again" The Advocate (Charleston, W. Va.) 24 Feb. 1910: 3. Print. ; "Changes Made at Hampton." The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 7 July 1934: 11. Print. ; "Hamptonians in N.Y. Hear Isaac Fisher on Gen. Armstrong: Founder's Day Program Draws Large Audience in Harlem." New York Age (New York, N.Y.) 2 Feb. 1935: 2. Print. ; "Hampton Commencement." New York Age (New York, N.Y.) 7 June 1917: 7. Print. ; "Moton Sketches Progress of Negroes on Ever of Tuskegee Anniversary." The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.) 12 Apr. 1931: 10. Print. ; "Fisher Hits 'Making the News'; Press Friendly, Cooperative When Program is Genuine." Indianapolis Recorder (Indianapolis, Ind.) 21 Aug. 1937: 13. Print. ; "Fisher Writes Moving Picture Drama." Indianapolis Recorder (Indianapolis, Ind.) 16 Oct. 1915: 4. Print. "Commencement Programs Announced by Manual, Broad Ripple, and Attucks." Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Ind.) 29 May 1934: 6. Print. ; Wheeler, Elizabeth L. "Isaac Fisher: The Frustrations of a Negro Educator at Branch Normal College, 1902-1911." The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 41.1 (Spring 1982): 3-50. Print. 

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:  

Monday, June 1, 2020

Dr. Charles D. Churchwell (1926-2018): Second African American to Earn a Ph.D. in Library Science from the University of Illinois

Dr. Charles Darrett Churchwell was the second African American to receive a Ph.D. in library science from the University of Illinois. A native of Dunnellon, Florida, Dr. Churchwell was born on Sunday, November 7, 1926 to John Dozier Churchwell and Leeannah Delaughter Churchwell. Dr. Churchwell was also a veteran of the United States Army. After the military, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1952 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. Dr. Churchwell then attended the Atlanta University Library School (Clark-Atlanta University), receiving his MLS (Master of Library Science) in 1953. He earned his doctorate (Ph.D.) in library science from the University of Illinois in 1966.

During his career, Dr. Churchwell held several positions in libraries across the country, including Alabama State College (Alabama State University), Prairie View A & M University, the New York Public Library, and the University of Illinois before becoming the first African American to serve as Assistant Director of Public Services & Associate Professor at the University of Houston. He remained at the University of Houston until 1970. That same year, Dr. Churchwell became the director of the Miami University of Ohio's libraries, serving for four years. Afterwards, he served as director of the Brown University Library, the dean of libraries at Washington University in St. Louis, and a library science professor at Wayne State University. His final years of librarianship were spent as the dean of the library science program at Clark-Atlanta University.  He retired in 1999.

Although Dr. Carla Hayden is the first African American to serve as Librarian of Congress, she was not the first African American to be considered for the job. When Librarian of Congress Lawrence Quincy Mumford (L. Quincy Mumford) retired from the Library of Congress in 1974, Dr. Churchwell was among several candidates recommended by the American Library Association Executive Board as Mumford's replacement. Even though Churchwell wasn't selected for the position, the fact that he was recommended is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Dr. Churchwell wrote several articles, contributed chapters to books on library science, and was the author of The Shaping of American Library Education.  He also testified before the Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities of the United States Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources in October 1979 during hearings on the Higher Education Amendments of 1979 and before the Subcommittee on Post Secondary Education of the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Education and Labor in September 1985 during hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Dr. Churchwell passed away in 2018 at the age of 91 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Some works of Dr. Churchwell:

Churchwell, Charles D. "The Evolution of the Academic Research Library in the 1960s." College & Research Libraries 68.2 (Mar. 2007): 104-105. Print.

Churchwell, Charles. "Racial Integration at the University of Houston: A Personal Perspective II." Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship. Ed. John Mark Tucker. Champaign: Board of Trustees of U of Illinois, 1998. 136-140. Print.

Churchwell, Charles D. "A Historical Introduction to Library Education: Problems and Progress to 1951 (Book Review)." College & Research Libraries 38.1 (Jan. 1977): 74-75. Print.

Churchwell, Charles D. The Shaping of American Library Education. Chicago: American Library Association, 1974. Print.

Churchwell, Charles D. "Education for Librarianship in the United States: Some Factors Which Influence Its Development between 1919 and 1936." Diss. U of Illinois, 1966. Print.

Update 6/27.2020:

*Note: The first African American to receive a doctorate in library science from the University of Illinois was Dr. Jessie Carney Smith. Dr. Smith received her Ph.D. in 1964.  Many thanks to Jamillah Gabriel for bringing this to my attention!!

Sources: Figa, Elizabeth and Macpherson, Janet. "Brown v. Board of Education and Its Effect on Libraries and Library and Information Science Education: Mapping and Storytelling a Historical Journey  Fifty Years in the Making."  Unfinished Business: Race, Equity, and Diversity in Library and Information Science Education. Ed. Maurice B. Wheeler. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2005. 21. Print. ; Holley, Edward G. "Racial Integration at the University of Houston: A Personal Perspective I."  and Churchwell, Charles. "Racial Integration at the University of Houston: A Personal Perspective II." Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship. Ed. John Mark Tucker. Champaign: Board of Trustees of U of Illinois, 1998. 129-140. Print. ; Jordan, Casper LeRoy and Josey, E.J. "A Chronology of Events in Black Librarianship." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 12, 15. Print. ; "Charles D. Churchwell Obituary." A Guide to African American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis. 14 Feb. 2020. Web. 30 May 2020. ; United States Congress Senate. Committee on Labor and Human Resources. Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and the Humanities. Higher Education Amendments of 1979: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and the Humanities of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Senate: Ninety-Sixth Congress, First Session on S. 1839 to Extend the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for Other Purposes: October 10, 11, 23, 25, and November 9, 1979, Part 2. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1980. Print. ; United States Congress House. Committee on Education and Labor. Subcommittee on Post Secondary Education. Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act: Title II (College Libraries); Title VI (International Education); Title VIII (Cooperative Education); Title X (F.I.P.S.E.); Title XI (Urban Grant Universities): Hearings before the Subcommittee on Post Secondary Education of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, Ninety-Ninth Congress, First Session: Hearings Held in Washington, DC, September 6 and 10, 1985. Volume 8. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1986. Print. ; "SWIDC Meets." The Prairie View Standard 45.4 (Dec. 1954): 3. PDF file. ; "Dr. Churchwell Nominated." The Miamian 3.31 (May 1974): 1. Digital file. ; Pearson, Lois R. "Outside Consultant's Plan Causes Churchwell to Resign from Washington U. Libraries." American Libraries 18 (Mar. 1987): 164. Print. ; "Charles D. Churchwell." The History Makers. The History Makers, 16 Oct. 2007. Web. 1 June 2020. "American Council on Education Fellows." Wright State University Research News 3.10 (Apr. 1971): 3. PDF file.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Bertha Pleasant Williams (1923-2008) and the Union Street Library, Montgomery, Alabama

Bertha Pleasant Williams was Montgomery, Alabama's first African American librarian. Ms. Williams was born on Friday, June 29, 1923 in Montgomery, Alabama to Reuben P. and Mary Green Pleasant.  She was a 1943 graduate of Alabama State University where she earned a bachelor of library science degree (BLS) and a 1946 graduate of Atlanta University (Clark-Atlanta University) where she earned her Master of Library Science (MLS). Previously, Ms. Williams had tried to attend the library science program at the University of Alabama but was refused admission because she was African American. In 1950, she married Robert H. Williams.

Library service in Montgomery, Alabama began with the Montgomery Library Association, a small subscription library above a drugstore on Dexter Avenue in 1899. In 1904, with funds from the Carnegie Endowment (founded by businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie) the Carnegie Library of Montgomery, Alabama was built (later called the Montgomery City-County Public Library). However, library services were not extended to Montgomery's African American community. This changed in June 1947, when the Montgomery Negro Ministerial Association met to formulate plans to establish a library branch for the African American community. At the meeting, a task force, the Friends of the Library Association, was created and charged with making the library branch a reality. Members of the task force included:

Rev. Ralph A. Daley
Zenovia Johnson
Alice Martin
M. L. Pace
Dr. V. E. Daniel

A building was found on 409 South Union Street and was renovated for housing the library. The building was provided by the Sojourner Truth Club, an African American women's club. The name chosen for the library branch was the Union Street Library. Through the encouragement of library science professor  Dr. Virginia Lacey Jones, Bertha Pleasant Williams applied for and accepted the position as librarian for the newly created library.

The Union Street Library opened for service on December 8, 1948. Ms. Williams was determined to provide patrons with the best service and resources possible. She promoted the library and it services on the local African American radio station and in the local African American newspaper. She worked closely with the city's African American teachers to promote reading in the classroom and loaned books for the schools to use. Williams also established deposit stations, authorized locations to lend library books for patrons to use. Williams had help from people in the community -- some would help transport books to patrons since the city refused to fund bookmobile service for African Americans; others would contribute funds in support of the library.

As time went by, the Union Street Library outgrew its space and needed to expand. In 1960, a new location for the library was secured and it was renamed the Cleveland Avenue Branch.  In 1963, the entire library system of the Montgomery City-County Public Library was integrated. The Cleveland Avenue Branch was later renamed the Rosa Parks Avenue Branch. The branch was renamed again in 2012 as the Bertha Pleasant Williams Library at the Rosa L. Parks Avenue Branch.

Ms. Williams later worked at the library at Alabama State University. She was employed at the university for 14 years, 7 of which she served as head of the university's rare book collection and archives.

Bertha Pleasant Williams passed way on Monday, November 24, 2008 at the age of 85.  Her funeral was held at the Dexter King Memorial Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama.  In 2012, a historic marker commemorating her work with libraries was placed at the Bertha Pleasant Williams Library at the Rosa Parks L. Avenue Branch.

Sources: Graham, Patterson Toby. A Right to Read: Segregation and Civil Rights in Alabama's Public Libraries, 1900-1965. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2006. 56-62, 68, 75-80. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South, or Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 94, 126. Print. ; Knott, Cheryl. Not Free, Not for All: Public Libraries in the Age of Jim Crow. U of Massachusetts P, 2015. 28, 143, 262. Print. ; Wiegand, Wayne A. and Shirley A. Wiegand. The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism.  LSU P, 2018. 51-53., 118-125. Print. ;  Robinson, Carrie C. "Alabama Association of School Librarians." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 51. Print. ; Blumenstein, Lynn. "Bertha Pleasant Williams Dies." Library,  Library Journal, 1 Dec. 2008. Web. 30 May 2020. ; Edwards, Brian. "Montgomery Officials Honor Recognition of Bertha Williams Library with Unveiling of Historic Marker." Montgomery Advertiser, USA Today Network, 28 June 2019. Web. 30 May 2020. ; "Council Reaches Compromise over the Renaming of Rosa Parks Library.", WFAS12 News, 18 July 2012. Web. 30 May 2020. ; "Bertha Pleasant Williams.", Legacy, 28 Nov. 2008. Web. 30 May 2020.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Three Notable Figures in Librarianship in Jamaica

Daphne Rowena Douglas

Daphne Rowena Douglas (1924- ) was head of the University of the West Indies' Library Science Program 1976-1980, and again from 1982-1993. She received the Institute of Jamaica's Centenary Medal for Meritorious Service in the Field of Librarianship and Library in 1979. Ms. Douglas is a 1974 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's library science program.

Sources: "Biographies of Jamaican Personalities: Daphne Douglas." National Library of Jamaica. National Library of Jamaica, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. ; "Professor Daphne Rowena Douglas." Douglas Archives. Douglas Archives, 26 Oct. 2010. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.

Kenneth Everard Niven Ingram

Kenneth Everard Niven Ingram (1921-2007) was one of  the earliest known black professional librarians in Jamaica. He was the University Librarian at the University College of the West Indies for ten years and helped found the Jamaica Library Association. Also, Mr. Ingram received the Gold Musgrave Medal for his contributions to library services and was president of the Association of Caribbean Universities, Research and Institutional Libraries. Mr. Ingram passed away in 2007.

Sources: "Biographies of Jamaican Personalities: Kenneth Everard Niven Ingram." National Library of Jamaica. National Library of Jamaica, n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2010. ; "Kenneth Everard Niven Ingram, OD, DLitt, MPhil, FLA, BA." University of the West Indies at Mona. University of the West Indies at Mona, n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2010. ; Dunn, Pat and Mordecai, Pamela. " Ingram, Kenneth Everard Niven." Encyclopedia of Latin and Caribbean Literature. Ed. Daniel Balderston and Mike Gonzalez. New York: Routledge, 2004. 276. Print.

Dorothy G. Williams Collings

Dorothy G. Williams Collings (1911-1991) helped found the library science program at the University of the West Indies. Ms. Collings, whose parents were Jamaican, was also a librarian at the New York Public Library and an instructor at the library school at Columbia University. She also worked at Atlanta University, UNESCO, and Fisk University. Ms. Collings received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1947.

Sources: Jackson, William Vernon. "The Pioneers: Dorothy G. Collings (1911-1991)." World Libraries 11.1-2 (2001):n.pag. Dominican Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 2001. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.; "Dorothy Collings: Tribute from the Library Association of Guyana." University of the West Indies at Mona, Library & Information Studies. University of the West Indies at Mona, n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2010. ; Jordan, Casper Leroy. "Georgia Peaches and Cream: Afro-American Librarians in the State of Georgia."  Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Durham: NCCU School of Library Service, 1980. 34 . Print. ; Cooper, Glendora Johnson. "African American Historical Continuity: Jean Blackwell Huston and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture." Reclaiming the American Library Past: Writing the Women In. Ed. Suzanne Hildenbrand. Norwood: Ablex, 1996. 38. Print.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

African and African American Presidents of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

Robert Wedgeworth, IFLA President 1991-1997

Sources:"IFLA Presidents." IFLA, 1 Apr. 2019. Web. 15 Sept. 2019.; Wilhite, Jeffrey M. 85 Years IFLA: A History and Chronology of Sessions 1927-2012. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2012.72, 77,269, 273, 283. Print. ; "Voice of 3,000 Librarian: Robert Wedgeworth, Executive Director of American Library Association Seeks to Make Librarians Visibile." Ebony 28.8 (1973): 107-108, 110-112. Print. ; "Arts and Letters." Ebony 28.3 (1973): 39. Print. ; Tate, Thelma H. "African Americans in International Librarianship." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva L. DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 615, 618-619. Print. ; Dawson, Alma. "Celebrating African American Librarians and Librarianship." Library Trends 49.1 (2000): 61. Print. ; "Wedgeworth Named Dean of N.Y. Library School." Jet 68.21 (1985): 34. Print. ; "American Library Assn. Names Black Executive." Jet 42.4 (1972): 25. Print. ; "Lerome J. Bennett Unveils 'Wade in the Water' ." Jet 57.5 (1979): 55. Print. ; "People." Jet 22.25 (1962): 45. Print. ; "The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. Celebrates 40 Years." Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. Newsletter 39.2 (2010): 4. Print.

Kay Raseroka, IFLA President 2003-2005

Sources: "IFLA Presidents." IFLA, 1 Apr. 2019. Web. 15 Sept. 2019. ; Raseroka, Kay. "'Not in My Wildest Dreams': IFLA Journal Interviews Kay Raseroka." IFLA Journal 29.3 (2003): 205-208. PDF. ; Byrne, Alex. "Kay Raseroka, IFLA President 2003-2005." IFLA Journal 31.4 (2005): 355-356. PDF. ; Raseroka, Kay. "Reports to Council in Oslo: President's Report." IFLA Journal 31.4 (2005): 350-354. PDF. ; Wilhite, Jeffrey M. 85 Years IFLA: A History and Chronology of Sessions 1927-2012. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2012.78-79, 304, 307, 314. Print. ; Shimmon, Ross. Kay Raseroka Wins Presidential Election. The Hague, Netherlands: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 2001.PDF. ; Raseroka, H. Kay. "Seizing the Moment: Issues and Opportunities towards the Creation of an Information Society." IFLA Journal 27.5-6 (2001): 322-327. PDF.

Ellen Tise, IFLA President 2009-2011

Sources: "IFLA Presidents." IFLA, 1 Apr. 2019. Web. 15 Sept. 2019.; "Newsmaker: Ellen Tise." American Libraries 41.10 (Oct. 2010): 31. Print. ; "Gates Foundation Contributes $1.5 Million to IFLA Advocacy." American Libraries. ALA,  25 Aug. 2009. Web. 15 Sept. 2019; Carlton, Amy. "IFLA President's Program Reunites Leaders: Past Presidents Take to the Stage to Talk Change." American Libraries. ALA, 26 Aug. 2018. Web. 15 Sept. 2019; Tise, Ellen R. and Raju, Reggie. "African Librarianship: A Relic, a Fallacy, or an Imperative?" Library Trends 64.1 (2015):3-18. Print. ; Tise, Ellen R. "Strategies by LIASA to Develop Library Services and the Profession in Africa." Information Development 20.1 (2004): 36-42. PDF. ; "South Africa's Libraries Highlighted at LC Talk for African American Month." Capital Librarian 1.6-7 (Jan./Feb. 2008): 10. PDF. ; Tise, Ellen R. "Libraries Driving Access to Knowledge (A2K)." Libraries Driving Access to Knowledge. Ed. Jesus Lau, Anna Maria Tammaro, and Theo J. D. Bothma. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2012. 17-34.Print. ; Wilhite, Jeffrey M. 85 Years IFLA: A History and Chronology of Sessions 1927-2012. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2012.79-80, 88, 326, 330. Print.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Some Early Librarians of Roosevelt High School, Gary, Indiana

Built in 1930, the Theodore Roosevelt High School of Gary, Indiana (now Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy) was established to educate the city's African American students. Some of the early librarians employed at the school: 

1931-1934 -- Wilhemina Turner was hired as a librarian at the Theodore Roosevelt High School where she worked until 1934. After receiving her library science degree in 1935, Turner became an assistant librarian at the Du Sable High School in Chicago, Illinois. 

1935-1936  -- Hortense Houston Young, was hired in 1935. A 1934 graduate of the University of Illinois Library School, Young remained at Roosevelt High School until 1936 when she became an assistant librarian at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes (now Simmons College of Kentucky; Eliza Atkins Gleason and her sister, Ollie Atkins Carpenter once worked at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes; Eliza became the first African American to earn a PhD in library science). 

1935-1937? -- Marjorie Adelle Blackistone Bradfield began working at Roosevelt High School (at that time she was Marjorie Blackistone). A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Bradfield was the daughter of John Roger and Lucy Comfort Winston Blackistone. Bradfield was a 1935 graduate of the Columbia University School of Library Service (the school closed in 1992) and also attended the University of Michigan.  

In 1937, she became the first African American librarian hired by the Detroit Public Library in Detroit, Michigan. On June 29, 1938, she married Horace F. Bradfield.  Ms. Bradfield remained at the Detroit Public Library until 1968, when she left to accept a position as a school librarian for the Detroit Public Schools. 

In 1970, Ms. Bradfield was instrumental in the appointment of Clara Stanton Jones as the Detroit Public Library’s first African American female director (Ms. Jones would later serve as the first African American president of the American Library Association, 1976-1977). Also, in July 1970, Ms. Bradfield participated in a panel discussion, “Black History in Libraries”, given by the History Section of the American Library Association (now the Library History Round Table) at the 89th American Library Association Annual Conference held in Detroit.

Ms. Bradfield remained at the Detroit Public Schools until 1980. She passed away on November 19, 1999 at the age of 88.

Sources: A Directory of Negro Graduates of Accredited Library Schools, 1900-1936.  Washington: Columbia Civic Library Association, 1937. 7, 22, 25. Print. ; Jones, Reinette F. Library Service to African American in Kentucky: From the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s. Jefferson: McFarland, 2002. 91, 103, 126, 163. Print. ; Spradling, Mary Mace. “Black Librarians in Kentucky.” The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 50. Print. ; Audi, Tamara. "Marjorie Bradfield: Put Black History into Library." Detroit Free Press 20 Nov. 1999: 123. Print. ; "Marjorie A. Blackistone and Horace Ferguson Bradfield Papers: 1931-1978." Bentley Historical Library. University of Michigan. May 2017. Web. 23 Feb. 2019. ; Taliaferro, Trudy Bradfield. "Special Guest Column: Benjamin Brown, Buffalo Soldier, Family Hero." African American Genealogical Society of Northern California. 2000. Web. 23 Feb. 2019.