Racial segregation in southern public libraries affected millions of African Americans before the Civil Rights movement, and for librarians in the South it created a conflict between professional and regional values. Ultimately, it was the efforts of black activists rather than librarians acting on their ethical impulses that ended library segregation. Librarians were constrained by local racial customs, Jim Crow laws, and, often, by their own racial attitudes. Also, librarians recognized that there were inherent dangers associated with defying the segregationists. There were a few, however, who challenged the racial status quo, and these individuals demonstrated the potential of librarians to change society.
Graham, P. T.
(2001). Public Librarians and the Civil Rights Movement: Alabama, 1955-1965. Library Quarterly, 71(1), 1-27.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/4002