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Charles Rosenberg

the first African American to manage a public library, founded a widely acclaimed program to train African Americans as library assistants in Louisville, Kentucky, where he supervised the first library department established for African Americans in an era of Jim Crow exclusion. Blue was the first person of African descent to appear in an American Library Association conference program (1922) and a founder of the Conference of Colored Librarians in 1927.

Blue was born in Farmville, Virginia, the second child of Noah and Henri Ann Crowly Blue, who had previously been enslaved. By 1870, Noah Blue was listed in the U.S. Census as a carpenter; he may have been the twelve-year-old male listed in the 1850 slave census as the property of Thomas Blue District No 24 Hampshire County Virginia now West Virginia The family included a six year old daughter Alice and a ...

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Mark L. McCallon

librarian, was born Elonnie Junius Josey in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Willie and Frances Josey. The eldest of five children, Josey attended a segregated school in Port Smith, Virginia. After studying the organ at the Hampton Institute, Josey attended Howard University's School of Music. Graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1949, he then went to Columbia University in New York and earned a master's degree in history. Unable to obtain a teaching job following graduation, Josey worked as a desk assistant in the Columbia University libraries. He developed a strong interest in libraries while working there and decided to pursue a master's degree in library science from the State University of New York at Albany.

Josey's first position was as a librarian in the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia from 1953 to 1954. In 1954 Josey accepted a teaching position as ...

Article

Melanie R. Thomas

educator, university librarian, and historian, was born in Texarkana, Texas, to Early Marshall, a carpenter and railroad worker, and Muskogee, Oklahoma, native Mary (Bland) Marshall. Little is known about Marshall's early life, but his father died when “A.P.” was still a boy, and the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. There Marshall began his library work experience at one of the public library branches while he attended high school. Marshall prepared himself for a professional career by attending Lincoln University at Jefferson City, Missouri (1934–1938), earning a BA in English and History. He continued his studies at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, receiving a BS degree in Library Science in 1939.

His foremost contribution to the field of library services was A Guide to Negro Periodical Literature (vols. 1–4, Nov. 1941–Dec. 1946 which he began while working as a library ...

Article

Robert L. Harris

The youngest child of George and Eliza Murray, Daniel Murray was born on March 3, 1852, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was named after Daniel Alexander Payne, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) bishop who pastored Baltimore's Bethel Church from 1845 to 1850. Shortly after 1861, Murray left home for Washington, D.C., where his brother managed the restaurant in the United States Senate. In 1871 he became a personal assistant to the librarian of Congress, Ainsworth R. Spofford. Under Spofford's tutelage Murray broadened his knowledge, became proficient in several foreign languages, and acquired invaluable research skills. In 1879 he married Anna Evans, a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio. Her uncle, Lewis Sheridan Leary, and cousin, John Anthony Copeland Jr., had participated in John Brown's antislavery raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). Advancing to assistant librarian in 1881 ...

Article

Jeff Bloodworth

librarian, civil rights activist, state senator, and congressman, was born in Collierville, Tennessee, one of the eight children of Ezekiel Owens and Hannah Owens. During Owens's childhood his family moved to Memphis, where Owens graduated from Hamilton High School in 1952 at the age of sixteen. After graduation and upon the receipt of a Ford Foundation scholarship, Owens attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he majored in mathematics, earning his bachelor's degree in 1956. In 1957 Owens earned a master's degree in Library Science from Atlanta University.

After earning his master's degree Owens married Ethel Werfel, whom he met at Morehouse College, and moved to New York City. Employed in the Brooklyn Public Library system, Owens also became active in politics and civil rights in the early to mid-1960s. In 1964 he was named community coordinator for a federal program to encourage ...

Article

Deborah H. Barnes

also wrote under the name Guarionex. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg's vast private collection, now housed in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (formerly the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library), is one of the outstanding collections of materials concerning the history and culture of people of African descent.

Schomburg was born on 24 January 1874 to an unwed freeborn mulatta, Maria Josepha, in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and raised in Puerto Rico by his mother's family. Although he adopted his surname, there is no evidence that Schomburg's father, Carlos Federico Schomburg, a German-born merchant living in San Juan, acknowledged or supported his son. Little is known about Schomburg prior to his emigration to the United States. Upon arriving in New York in 1891 he settled into the Puerto Rican and Cuban community on Manhattan s east side For most of his ...

Article

Louis J. Parascandola

bibliophile and champion of black culture. Arthur (Arturo) Alfonso Schomburg was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His father, a merchant, was the son of a Puerto Rican mother and a German immigrant father. It was his mother, a black migrant worker from the Virgin Islands, and his maternal grandparents who early on instilled in him a pride in his African heritage and spurred his interest in black culture. According to a perhaps apocryphal story, hearing the taunts of his white teachers and classmates that blacks had made no significant achievements inspired Schomburg to collect as many works by black authors as he could find.

Schomburg came to the United States on 17 April 1891 and soon gained employment in a law office in New York. He took a position at Bankers Trust Company in 1906 It was during his years as a law clerk and banker that he ...

Article

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of a German father and a West Indian mother, Schomburg spent his childhood in Puerto Rico. After briefly attending Saint Thomas College in the Virgin Islands, he came to the United States in 1891 and began working in a New York City law office. In New York, Schomburg began to collect literary works and visual art by and about people of African descent. In 1906 Schomburg began working in the mailroom at Bankers Trust Company, where he remained until 1929. He became an active Prince Hall Mason, serving as grand secretary of the grand lodge from 1918 to 1926.

In 1911 Schomburg and African American journalist John E. Bruce founded the Negro Society for Historical Research as a base from which to publish articles on black history. In 1922 Schomburg was elected president of the American Negro ...

Article

Betty Kaplan Gubert

historian, bibliophile, and curator, was born Arturo Alfonso Schomburg in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Mary Joseph, an unwed midwife or laundress who had been born free in 1837 on St. Croix, Virgin Islands. His father's name is unknown, though Schomburg recorded that he was born in 1839, the son of a German émigré merchant.

Details of Schomburg s education are also sparse He may have attended the College of St Thomas a secondary school but there is no documentation Schomburg knew French and his writings in Spanish are both grammatically correct and eloquent His lack of formal education ate away at him all his life and it was surely one of the spurs to his untiring search for information and his efforts to make the results widely known As a child he belonged to a club of young people who studied history ...

Article

Mark L. McCallon

librarian, was born in Ennis, Texas, the son of Robert and Jimmie Wedgeworth, who both passed away when he was a teenager. He was raised with his six siblings in Kansas City, Missouri, where he attended the all-black Lincoln High School. During the summers he worked as a library page.

After graduation Wedgeworth received a scholarship to attend Wabash College in Indiana. Although he intended to pursue a career as a language interpreter, Wedgeworth worked as an assistant to the librarian, Don Thompson, whom he found to be an influential role model. After earning a bachelor's degree in English, Wedgeworth enrolled in the master's program in library science at the University of Illinois in 1959. Following graduation in 1961, his first job was as a cataloger at the Kansas City Library. He joined the American Library Association (ALA) in 1962 and helped to create the ...

Article

librarian, educator, and writer, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the only child of Daniel P. Williams, from a prominent African American family in Ohio, and Mary Kilkary, a white woman born in Tipperary, County Cork, Ireland. Williams attended public schools, graduated from the Cleveland Central High School, and enrolled at Adelbert College of Western Reserve University (later Case Western Reserve University). Though fair enough to pass for white, Williams never hid his racial heritage, and despite the prevailing racism of the era he flourished in college. Acknowledged by his instructors and peers as an outstanding student and athlete, Williams was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and participated in a number of team sports, varsity baseball among them. He received his bachelor's degree in 1892 and was class valedictorian.

After graduation Williams was appointed first assistant librarian of Adelbert College, and in 1894 ...

Article

Dorothy B. Porter

Edward Christopher Williams was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the only son of Daniel P. Williams, an African American, and Mary (Kilkary) Williams of Tipperary, Ireland. He was educated in the public schools of Cleveland. In 1892 he received his B.A. degree from Cleveland's Adelbert College of Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University). There he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was valedictorian of his class. From 1892 to 1894 Williams was first assistant librarian of Adelbert College, and from 1894 to 1898, the librarian of the Hatch Library of Western Reserve. From 1898 to 1899 he was university librarian of Western Reserve. A brilliant and stimulating teacher, he taught library courses in bibliography, reference work, public documents, and book selection. Williams was granted a leave of absence from Western Reserve from 1899 to 1900 to study at the New York State Library School in ...