From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Middlesboro Colored Library (Bell County, KY)

(start date: October 1932  -  end date: 1951) 

The first colored library in Middlesboro, KY, was located in the Methodist Church in October of 1932. The church was demolished in 1933, and was followed by a protest for the re-establishing of a colored library since colored citizens paid taxes that supported the public library for whites but were denied access to the public library. In 1940, it was suggested that the colored library be located in a funeral home. The NAACP Office objected. In spite of the objection, the library was placed in the Johnson, Baker, & Mitchell Funeral Home at 415 Nineteenth Street in Middlesboro. The business donated the space, lights, and janitorial services. The City of Middlesboro provided shelving and paid an attendant $35 per month to maintain the collection of 800 books. The NAACP Office continued their protest. There continued to be a colored library in Middlesboro in the 1940s and early 1950s; according to articles in the Middlesboro Daily News, a donation and disbursement of $35 was processed for the colored library by H. H. Hutcheson, Collector [issue July 19, 1943, p.7], and by G. C. Owen, Clerk and Collector [issue June 20, 1949, p.8]; and the Middlesboro Book Club dues were used to buy magazines for the main library and the colored libraries ["The Middlesboro Book Club...," March 7, 1951, p.1].

For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1932 and 1933 submitted to the Kentucky Library Commission from the Middlesboro Public Library; A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright; and Miller's Middlesboro, Ky, City Directory, 1950-1951.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bell County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Middlesboro, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Middlesboro Colored Library (Bell County, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-07-08 18:44:40