Battle Cry: the American Library Association and Its Southern Chapters during the Civil Rights Movement

The historiography of civil rights and libraries tells us little about the desegregation of the profession. During the Civil Rights Movement librarians in the American South encountered barriers to their professional participation due to Jim Crow cultural restrictions in the region. Despite activism by a few individuals, the American Library Association was not successful in compelling state and regional affiliates of the Association to integrate their ranks. Four state associations (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgie) actually severed their ties with ALA. Only after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were the cultural barriers removed to permit the southern associations to open their membership to all librarians. Soon after the signing of that legislation, ALA readmitted those southern chapters.