Library historian Wayne Wiegand to speak at Furman University about Greenville desegregation

Wiegand and his wife, Shirley A. Wiegand, recently published “The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism.”

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Noted American library historian and Florida State University Professor Wayne Wiegand will speak about the efforts to desegregate the Greenville Public Library system Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. in Watkins Room of the Trone Student Center on the Furman University campus.

His talk, “Desegregation in Greenville,” is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Friends of the Furman University Libraries, the Furman Center for Inclusive Communities, and the Greenville County Public Library.

Wiegand will describe the events of 1959-60 that led up to the desegregation of Greenville’s public libraries and the actions of several local high school and college students, known as the “Greenville 7” and the “Greenville 8,” whose activism forced the library to open all of its branches to every Greenville citizen.

Members of the Greenville 7 and Greenville 8 will be present and will be recognized at the program, and guests will have the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the very participants who prompted social change in the Greenville community.

Wiegand is the F. Williams Summers Professor of Library and Information Sciences & Professor of American Studies, Emeritus, at Florida State University. This year, Wiegand and his wife, Shirley A. Wiegand, published “The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism” (LSU Press), a book that includes several extended case studies, one of them being the story about the desegregation of the Greenville Public Library.

The book has recently spurred the American Library Association to issue a formal apology for its indifference and lack of advocacy for the integration of American public libraries during the civil rights era.

Copies of Wiegand’s books will be available for sale at the event. For more information, contact Kathy Hamlin at 864-294-2191, and kathy.hamlin@furman.edu.