Monday, September 26, 2005

Louisville celebrates nation's first African-American library

Bessie Green didn't have much to read at her Chestnut Street home, except for a few black newspapers, some old National Geographic magazines and newspapers she occasionally got from the white woman whose home she cleaned.

So she depended on the Western branch of the Louisville Free Public Library.

"Books are your freedom, child, don't forget that," Green told her 4-year-old granddaughter, Gloria Brady, in the early 1940s as they made their way up the tree-lined street for a visit to the library.

The memory of her grandmother's words is strong for Brady -- now 63 and known as Nana Yaa Asantewaa.

For her and many black people in Louisville, the Western branch library provided that freedom. And as the nation's first full-service library branch run by and for black people, it set a precedent for the country. Read More...