Monday, May 19, 2008

Thomas F. Holgate Library, Bennett College, GREENSBORO NC

The Carnegie Negro Library on the campus of Bennett College in Greensboro North Carolina is one of the 1,689 libraries built in the United from States from 1883 to 1929.

In the segregated American South, this library, sitting on the northwestern corner of the Bennett College campus, in a neighborhood considered in 1923 as “predominantly black,” had to be referred to as the “Negro Library,” to make it abundantly clear who the patrons would and would not be. Carnegie disliked the segregation system, believing that any human being, like he, could become successful through learning and hard work. But, he did not mind funding separate libraries if that is what it took to give library access to African-Americans.

The library today seems more like a museum than place of higher learning. The library was built before many of the Bennett College buildings, and it sits on a soaring perch, overlooking downtown Greensboro, where the rest of Bennett College faces a long rectangle quad on Lee Street. [Thanks to Chip Millard's Weblog for this information! []

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