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.
The Douglass School Branch of the Kingsport Library closed in 1949 leaving Kingsport’s African-American community without a library until 1951.
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.
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.