The 1939 Library Sit-In & Today’s Fight for Access to Books

Mar 6, 2024

1:00pm – 2:00pm CT

In 1939, five young Black men were arrested for participating in a peaceful sit-in for the right to use the public library in Alexandria, Va.—the first sit-in of its kind. Join us to talk about this little-known demonstration for the right to read 85 years ago. Learn about the courageous youth who demanded access, setting a standard for later civil rights actions. Be inspired by today’s museum and library leaders working to set things right. Reflect on links to today’s book bans and their chilling effects. Featuring interactive activities to help you apply lessons in your hometown.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Audrey Davis
Audrey Davis

Office of Historic Alexandria

photo of Rose Dawson
Rose Dawson

Alexandria Library

photo of Lisa Guernsey
Lisa Guernsey

New America

photo of Jazmyne Owens
Jazmyne Owens

New America