Little Known Black History Fact: Alexandria Library Sit-In

Black America Web

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During the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement, sit-in protests were organized to bring awareness to the unfair practice of segregation in public spaces. Seventy-five years ago today, the Alexandria Library sit-In took place in Northern Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C. It is considered the earliest library sit-in and also one of the earliest recorded protests of its kind.

On August 21, 1939, the sit-in’s organizer, local attorney Samuel W. Tucker, had five African-American men attempt to obtain cards from the Kate Waller Barrett Library. As a public space, Virginia’s “racial integrity” laws didn’t legally bar Blacks from borrowing books from the space but they were denied anyway.

The five men, William “Buddy” Evans, Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, and Clarence Strange individually entered the Barrett library in an attempt to get cards for book loans.

Each man was denied a card…

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