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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Constance Hill Marteena: Hampton Institute Library School Graduate and President of the North Carolina Negro Library Association

Constance Hill Marteena, a 1933 graduate of the Hampton Institute Library School, was president of the North Carolina Negro Library Association from 1952 until 1954 (note: Hampton Institute is now Hampton University). She received her master's degree in library science from the University  of Chicago in 1946.

Born August 24, 1897 in Richmond, Virginia, Ms. Marteena was the daughter of Reubin and Irene Hill, and the wife of Jerald Milton Marteena (Mr. Marteena once served as Dean of Engineering at North Carolina A & T State University; Marteena Hall, located on the university's campus, is named for him).

In addition, Ms. Marteena was a librarian at North Carolina A & T State University (1929-1937) and at Bennett College (1937-1967), both in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She also served on the editorial board of Library Service Review, the bulletin of the North Carolina Negro Library Association. Ms. Marteena was an author as well:

Marteena, Constance Hill. The Lengthening Shadow of a Woman: A Biography of Charlotte Hawkins Brown. Hicksville: Exposition, 1977. Print.

Marteena, Constance H. "Teaching the Student to Help Himself." Library Service Review 1.1 (1948): 8-10. Print.

Marteena, Constance H. A Bibliographic Technique Illustrated in the Compilation of a Selective Guide to the Literature of Afro-American Women of Achievement. Chicago: University of Chicago, Graduate School, 1946. Print.

In 1934, Ms. Marteena became one of six charter members of the Beta Iota Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority. She passed away on December 29, 1978.

The Thomas F. Holgate Library of Bennett College has a digital collection relating to Ms. Marteena:

Update 12/09/2012:

See related post: North Carolina Negro Library Association.

Sources: Lee, Mollie Huston. "North Carolina Negro Library Association, 1935-54." Library Review 2 (1955): 10-32. Print. ; "Constance Marteena." U.S. Social Security Death Index., n.d.Web. 14 Feb. 2012. ; "Constance Marteena." North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. ; 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. 81-82. Print. ; Speller, Benjamin F. "Constance Hill Marteena." Notable Black American Women. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Book II. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996. 433-434. Print. ; A Directory of Negro Graduates of Accredited Library Schools, 1900-1936. Washington, D.C.: Columbia Civic Library Association, 1937. 17. Print. ; "Our Contributors." Library Service Review  1.2 (1948): 5. Print. ; "Editorial Board." Library Service Review 1.1 (1948): [3]. Print. ; "Beta Iota Omega Chapter History." Beta Iota Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Charted in 1934 - Greensboro, North Carolina., 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. ; "Jerald Marteena." U.S. Social Security Death Index., n.d.Web. 09 Dec. 2012. ; "Jerald Milton Marteena." North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. ; Marteena, Constance H. "Teaching the Student to Help Himself." Library Service Review 1.1 (1948): 8-10. Print. ; Moore, Richard. "Mrs. Marteena Leaves $120, 371 to A&T Unit." The Afro-American (Baltimore, Md.) 23 Aug. 1980: 1. Print.