Saturday, August 16, 2014

75th Alexandria (VA) Library Sit-In of 1939 Anniversary Event

On August 21, 2014 the Alexandria (VA) Library will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the historic civil rights sit-in which took place at the Library. The commemoration will take place at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch, where the sit-in originally took place on August 21, 1939. I published a previous post about the sit-in in 2010.The following is from a library press release:

"On August 21, 1939, five African American men individually entered the segregated building and requested library cards. When denied, each man calmly took a book off of a shelf to read. After two hours, library authorities had the men arrested for their act of 'civil disobedience'.

'Due to the bravery of these men, 75 years later our library is a community hub that supports all individuals by providing equal access to books, technology, culture, and so much more', says Director of Libraries, Rose T. Dawson. Dawson also happens to be Alexandria’s first African American Library Director. 

The Alexandria Library was founded first as a subscription library in 1794 and became Alexandria’s public library in 1937. Two years later, Attorney Samuel Tucker organized and defended sit-in protesters, William (Buddy) Evans, Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, and Clarence Strange. Though the men were charged with disorderly conduct, the city delayed the case and no ruling was ever issued. 

The public is invited to join Alexandria Library in recognizing this significant local event. The program will feature keynote speakers Frank Smith, Ph.D., Director, African American Civil War Museum and Patricia Timmons-Goodson, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) and who is a newly appointed Commissioner, United States Commission on Civil Rights. Visitors can also enjoy music, children’s activities, food and refreshments, gift bags, and more on Thursday, August 21, 2014, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314!"

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