George Washington Carver Branch Library, 1951.
When the Kingsport Public Library was founded public libraries in Tennessee were racially segregated. Kingsport’s African-American community had no library until around 1939 when a branch library was opened at Douglass School. The committee in charge of the Douglass School Library were Mrs. H. I. Stacey, Miss Evelyn Carter, Horace Sneed and E.J. Whitley. The librarians were Mrs. Mae Dobbins and Dennis Smith.
Opening of the Carver Branch Library June 10, 1951. Some of the people in the picture are E.W. Palmer (near the right pillar), sisters Anita and Marie Briscoe, Annette Burnette, Linda Cox, Reverend William H. Stokely, Willard C. and Ressie H. Long.
The Douglass School Branch of the Kingsport Library closed in 1949 leaving Kingsport’s African-American community without a library until 1951.
Willard C. Long hanging a portrait of George Washington Carver in the newly opened George Washington Carver Library.
In 1950 it was decided to locate a branch library in the Riverview Community. A contest among Douglass High School students was conducted to name the library. The name selected was George Washington Carver Branch Library.
The George Washington Carver Branch Library was officially opened on June 10, 1951. According to the Kingsport Times-News the opening ceremony was attended by over 100 people and was presided by E.W. Palmer, chairman of the board of trustees.
Article from the June 12, 1951 newspaper. The headline states "George Washington Carver Library Open for Business."
Eventually public schools and public libraries were integrated but the George Washington Carver branch continued to serve Kingsport residents for many years. The George Washington Carver Library, the only branch library established by the City of Kingsport, closed October 1, 2007.
Picture from the opening ceremonies of the library from the June 15, 1951 edition of the newspaper.