Colored Libraries in the Charlotte Court and Aspendale Housing Projects, Lexington, KY (Fayette County)
Charlotte Court was the first segregated housing projects in Lexington, KY. The completed complex had 52 apartment buildings in 1939, the year residents submitted a request to the Manchester Street Library for a colored branch to be established on the grounds of the housing projects. The request was accepted and the branch opened in March of 1940. It was the second colored library in Lexington [the Douglass Community Library opened in 1938]. The branch in the housing projects was managed by a separate library board made up of Negro members only. The library contained 250 duplicate books received from the Manchester Street Library. Both the Charlotte Court Colored Branch and the Manchester Street Library operated as an independent organization that was NOT connected to the Lexington Public Library.
The Manchester Street Library was managed by the Junior League, a women's organization. The Junior League had established a library in the Abraham Lincoln School. The school was attended by white students only. In order to continue to provide the students with library books during the summer months, the Manchester Street library was established in 1939 with 500 books in a nearby storeroom.
After the Charlotte Court branch opened, the Manchester Street Library received a request for a lending library in Aspendale, a segregated housing projects on the east side of Lexington. The Aspendale branch library was also managed by a separate library committee. The library was located in the recreation room of the Charles Young Community Center on East Third Street, with Mrs. Harrietta Jackson as librarian [source: Herald-Leader photo collection at UK Special Collections, Audio-Visual Archives, Series 1.13, Item 68]. Both the Aspendale and the Charlotte Court libraries submitted their monthly reports to the Manchester Street Library Committee.
For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; A. K. Buckley, "The Manchester Street Library, Lexington," Bulletin of the Kentucky Library Association, v.9, pp.27-29; and "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1940 submitted to the Kentucky Library Extension Division. Prior to the Charlotte Court Library was the Fayette County Rural Service Library, Negro Efforts. See also Colored Reading Room, Lexington Carnegie Public Library.