Open letter from Dr. Lorna Peterson. She was ALISE President in 2010/2011
On July 24, 2020, a thread regarding Black Women LIS educators in the U.S. generated interest on the list JESSE, that was both surprising and encouraging to see. Three former deans (McCook, Woolls, Carbo) who are recognized researchers and leaders beyond their administrative post experiences, contributed names. An additional leader responded privately with more names.
Nicole Cooke’s CFP has already been announced on this list and elsewhere, but the development of a list of names might be helpful as Blanche Woolls aptly stated “so that this can become a go-to location for LIS students who need an essay topic or a more extensive topic for a dissertation.”
With the contributions of names that were posted on this list and sent privately to me, I decided to collate the names and provide them over this list. It is by no means exhaustive and I certainly do not wish to clutter inboxes or cause confusion regarding the special issue of Libraries: Culture, History, and Society. To encourage the spirit of how this list started, I am sharing the below. This post is only to temporarily place in one spot the names already generated and perhaps have someone move and manage off-list. I am not volunteering to develop and maintain such a list, just sharing what was already developing. Also included at the end of this list are the names from the original call for papers.
The responses from Kathleen McCook, Blanche Woolls, Toni Carbo, Deborah Swain, and the private responder, indicate a need for the study of Black women’s lives who shaped the library, archival, and information science discipline and profession. LIS has fine examples of biography using feminist theory with librarian/library educator lives, from such works as Suzanne Hildenbrand’s Reclaiming the American Library Past: Writing the Women In and New Woman as Librarian, The Career of Adelaide Hess by Clare Beck. Studying LIS Black women educators by using feminist theory, critical race theory, social class and labor history theory, etc., would enrich the canon of LIS literature by weaving in discrimination, gender inequality, stereotyping, pay equity, etc. Imagine what such a work as Geraldine Clifford’s Those Good Gertrudes or Darlene Clark Hine’s Black women in white would contribute to the understanding of the LIS profession. Here is the beginning of a list:
Black Women LIS Educators: U.S.
Pauletta Brown Bracy
Lorene Brown, former dean of Clark Atlanta
Yvonne Chandler, University of North Texas
Renate Chancellor, Catholic University of America
Evelyn Curry, Texas Woman’s University
Claudia Gollop, UNC-Chapel Hill
EM Claire Knowles, Simmons
Rhea Lawson, (Wayne State before going to Houston Public Library as director)
Shari Lee, St. John’s
Carole J. McCollough, Wayne State
Irene Owens, former dean of North Carolina Central, typo earlier
Danielle Smith, University of North Texas
Karen P. Smith, Queens
Important to note the faculty at the Hampton Institute library school
- Hallie Beachem Brooks (1907 – 1985) was a prominent African American librarian, educator, and academic who worked to advance literacy and educational opportunities for people of color. She was a Professor of Library Science at Atlanta University, published numerous book reviews, and mentored African American library students.
- Eliza Atkins Gleason (December 15, 1909 – December 15, 2009) was the first African American to receive a doctorate in Library Science. In 1941, she established and became the first Dean of the School of Library Service at Atlanta University and created a library education program that trained 90 percent of all African American librarians by 1986.
- Virginia Lacy Jones (June 25, 1912 – December 3, 1984) was an American librarian who throughout her 50-year career in the field pushed for the integration of public and academic libraries. She was one of the first African Americans to earn a PhD in Library Science and became dean of Atlanta University’s School of Library Sciences.
- Doris Hargrett Clack (March 24, 1928 – November 22, 1995) was an African American librarian and expert on cataloging and
classification. She was a professor of library science at Florida State University for 23 years and did extensive scholarly work on the library classification of Black studies and the second edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2).
- Dr. Elfreda A. Chatman was well known for her ethnographic approaches in researching information seeking behaviors among understudied or minority groups (poor people, the elderly, retired women, female inmates, and janitors).
Lorna Peterson (professor Emerita SUNY-Buffalo).