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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Historical District in Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Barrett Library / Black History Museum

 
 
Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
1. Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker
Inscription.  The Alexandria Library's Kate Waller Barrett Branch (2 blocks north, 1 block east) and the Alexandria Black History Museum (6 blocks north) have an unusual shared history. The library building was constructed in 1938 and named for Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, a noted Alexandria resident and national social activist. But at the time of its construction, public facilities in Alexandria were segregated and African Americans, whose taxes helped to support the library, were not permitted to use the new facility.

The following year, decades before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, 26 year-old Alexandria attorney Samuel Wilber Tucker organized a small group of African American men to participate in what is believed to be the first "sit-down" demonstration in the United States. On August 21, 1939, five young, well dressed African American men entered the library and requested library cards. When their requests were denied, they each took a book from the stacks, sat down and started to read. The men participating in the quiet, non-violent demonstration were soon arrested, but as police removed them from the building, Tucker had cleverly arranged
Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
2. Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker
for press photographers to be on the sidewalk outside, thereby assuring national coverage.

As a result of these actions, the city built the segregated and clearly unequal, Robert H. Robinson Library in 1940. This small building now forms the historic anchor of the Alexandria Black History Museum. Since 1985, the museum has presented exhibitions and programs relating to African American culture, the history of the African Diaspora and the significant role that African Americans have always played in the history and development of Alexandria, and well-known authors, performers, and civil right activists routinely participate in museum programs. The Alexandria Library and Alexandria Black History Museum continue to serve a diverse Alexandria community, and are vibrant public resources highlighting the city's cultural landscape.
 
Erected by City of Alexandria.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCharity & Public WorkCivil RightsWomen. In addition, it is included in the Virginia, The City of Alexandria series list.
 
Location. 38° 48.323′ N, 77° 2.947′ W. Marker is in the Historical District in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the
Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
3. Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker
intersection of King Street (Virginia Route 7) and North Alfred Street, on the right when traveling west on King Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 57 North Alfred Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Friendship Firehouse (a few steps from this marker); Friendship Fire Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Christ Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bayne-Fowle House (about 400 feet away); Dr. Bernard Stier, O.D. (1930-2005) (about 400 feet away); Original Site of Immanuel Lutheran Church (about 400 feet away); Site of Alexandria's First Sugar Refinery (about 400 feet away); Welcome to Christ Church (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Historical District.
 
Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
4. Barrett Library/Black History Museum Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 118 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Aug. 15, 2020