The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South
Civil Rights and Local Activism
In The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South, Wayne and Shirley Wiegand use an array of primary sources to tell the comprehensive history of the integration of public libraries in the region. Like other efforts to integrate civic institutions in the 1950s and 1960s, it was the persistence of local activism that won the battle to integrate these institutions and genuinely make them free to all citizens. The history of that process began before the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board decision, a time when southern blacks attempted only to equalize accommodations, not undo segregation. After the ruling, the movement shifted to protests, seen mainly in the form of public library sit-ins or in lawsuits against library systems. By examining the desegregation movement on a local level in several southern cities and states, the Wiegands reveal the similarities and differences as individual communities negotiated – mostly peacefully, sometimes violently – the integration of the local public library as a place.
Wayne Wiegand is F. William Summers emeritus professor of library and information studies and professor of American Studies at Florida State University.
Shirley Wiegand is emeritus professor of law at Marquette University.
Extras for The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow SouthAn interview with Wayne A. Wiegand and Shirley A. Wiegand
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