Alexandria VA Library Event to honor the 1939 Sit-In 75th Anniversary

1939 Alexandria Library Sit-In AnniversaryBy Tina McPherson

Alexandria, VA: August 21, 2014 – In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Alexandria Library Sit-In, the Alexandria Library commemorates this little known historic civil rights event at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch, where the sit-in originally took place Thursday, August 21, 2014, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314.

sit-in-libraryOn 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”.

Frank Smith, Ph.D., Director, African American Civil War Museum

Frank Smith, Ph.D., Director, African American Civil War Museum

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.

Patricia Timmons-Goodson, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) and newly appointed Commissioner, United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Patricia Timmons-Goodson, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) and newly appointed Commissioner, United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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 will also enjoy music, children’s activities, food and refreshments, gift bags, and more!

Learn more details about the schedule of events honoring the 75th anniversary of the peaceful protest and the history on the Alexandria Virginia Library website: http://www.alexandria.lib.va.us/client/en_US/home/?rm=1939+ALEXANDRI0|||1|||0|||true&dt=list#.U–Xs2M7ZmL

Alexandria Library also welcomes the public to share their experiences during the event @AlexLibraryVA and use hashtag #LibrarySitIn to join in the discussion!


For further information, please contact Tina McPherson
tmcpherson@alexandria.lib.va.us

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