Libraries in the Jim Crow South and A Conversation with One of the Tougaloo Nine

Geraldine Edwards Artwork

Artwork by Geraldine Edward | Image Courtesy of


In celebration of Black History Month, join author Cheryl Knott (“Not Free, Not for All: Public Libraries in the Age of Jim Crow”) and Civil Rights activist Geraldine Hollis (author of “Back to Mississippi”), along with artists Michael Crowell and Chapel Hill Library Director Susan Brown, for an engaging and educational conversation on the history of libraries and life in the Jim Crow South. This striking portrait of Ms. Hollis was a submission to the Chapel Hill Public Library’s 2016 Banned Books Trading Card project by artist Michael Crowell. Crowell’s piece speaks to the power of memory, history, art, libraries, archives – and to Ms. Hollis’ bravery. Hollis, Crowell, and Brown will share the powerful connections they have made because of this project.

The Jim Crow laws were in effect in the U.S. South from 1890-1965. During that time, libraries were one of many segregated institutions. Geraldine Hollis (then Edwards), a student at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, was one of nine students arrested at the white public library in Jackson for attempting to read books that were not available at the colored library. The recent movie “Hidden Figures” highlighted several heroines from the Civil Rights era and numerous unsung heroes who contributed to the progress we’ve seen; Geraldine Hollis is one of those heroes.

The webinar is sponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation. This archived webinar was originally presented February 23rd, 2017. *NOTE: This past webinar has now been archived. Access to the recording can be purchased; please see How to Register below for more details.

Registration to Access Archived Webinar
ALA member: $20 | Non-member: $25

Purchase Archived Webinar

Learning Outcomes

This webinar provides a great opportunity for school library media specialists, history teachers, librarians, and students to learn more about the intersection between libraries and civil rights as well as the importance of providing access to information in our libraries today.

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