Photograph as originally submitted to this page
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Photographer: Richard E. Miller
Taken: October 15, 2013
Caption: Alexandria Public Library - interior plaque commemorating the 1939 sit-in
"Library the Scene of Human Rights Action"
A library is the collective memory of all humanity. Its contents are the common heritage of us all.
On August 21, 1939, five citizens of the city walked into this building and sat at one of its reading tables. Though surrounded by the wisdom of the ages, they were denied access to the thoughts on the shelves around them for a reason as implausible as the color of their skin. For merely being in this room, they were arrested.
The act of these five men in defying a discriminatory regulation was one of the earliest examples of a tactic successfully employed by a later generation to undermine racial segregation across the nation. This plaque is placed here so that the names of these five courageous citizens – William Evans, Otto Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray and Clarence “Buck” Strange – will forever remain a part of the collective memory of our community.
In Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the
Human Rights Ordinance of the City of Alexandria
March 25, 2000
[The Seal of the City of Alexandria, Virginia]
Submitted: November 1, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Database Locator Identification Number: p259381
File Size: 1.971 Megabytes
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