University of Southern Mississippi’s New Online Archive on Racially Segregated Libraries

Matthew Griffis, an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, has conducted extensive research on racial segregation in public libraries in the South. His research has been digitized is now available online.

The archive is entitled “The Roots of Community: Segregated Carnegie Libraries as Spaces for Learning and Community-Making in Pre-Civil Rights America, 1900-65.” The research includes information on 12 segregated Carnegie libraries (or “Carnegie Negro Libraries” as they were called then), a group of public libraries that opened between 1900 and 1925. For as many as six decades these libraries served as learning spaces for African Americans in the pre-civil rights American South. By the 1970s, most had closed or were integrated into the formerly White-only public library systems of their larger communities.

In addition to photographs and scholarship, Dr. Griffis plans to add oral history interviews conducted with surviving patrons of these libraries later this year. “Reading in books about what life was like for African Americans before the Civil Rights Movement is one thing; hearing from people who actually experienced it is something else,” Dr. Griffis says. “The interviews add a very human aspect to the project.”

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

  1. I would be interested in knowing if any of these libraries collected information that would be of interest to family historians? Example, news of various plantations, family letters, school records, etc.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs