Monday, January 27, 2014

"The Dream is in Our Hands" by Reverend Otis Moss

LaGrange College received a special visit from one of the great civil rights leaders of Atlanta and our nation, Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, on Tuesday, January 21st.

The turnout to the event was standing room only in the Dickson Assembly room, and everyone was intently engaged.

Reverend Moss was a close, personal friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and is a LaGrange native. During his speech, he recalled that as a high school student, he washed the windows of the LaGrange College buildings for income. Back then, even though he worked hard to earn his money on the college campus, he was not allowed to attend because of his race. 

Even so, the winds of change came through Atlanta, LaGrange, and our nation when great civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Moss decided one day to stand up for their rights as human beings. 

His inspirational messages and recollections of lunch-counter sit-ins allowed us all a glimpse at what he and other civil rights leaders endured. Rev. Moss encouraged all who attended the assembly to make a difference in the world because the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and others were now in our hands. We repeated after him, "In our time and in our space, in God's Grace, we will, we can, we must make a difference."

The Dickson Assembly Room was standing (or sitting on the floor) room only!

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss with our chaplain, Rev. Dr. Quincy Brown
Rev. Moss (far right) pictured with Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. For more information, see the original article from the Cincinnati Herald. Photo retrieved from The Cincinnati Herald,

 Our Library staff attended the event together,and were all inspired by the message:

"It was inspiring to hear the stories of someone who personally knew Dr. King and was involved in the early days of the civil rights movement.  I especially appreciated Dr. Moss's story, in answer to a student question, about MLK's arrest/sentencing to Reidsville after an Atlanta sit-in to desegregate lunch counters.
                                                                       -Charlene Baxter, public and technical services librarian

"As time goes on, many of the participants of the Civil Rights Era will no longer be with us. I was very fortunate and honored to hear Dr. Otis’ message on Tuesday, the day after we celebrated MLK Day.   Dr. Otis’ message was very timely for me.  His recollections of how as a high school student he worked at LaGrange College as a window washer, a college to which he could not attend - to his involvement in the Civil Rights movement, was inspirational.  We don’t think of how our small piece of life can fit into such a large picture, but his life and experiences illustrate how it can be done.  Often when we dream, we dream glorious, magnificent, bigger-than-life experiences for ourselves. However,  the humility of service is making sure the greatest plan is implemented: using God’s grace to us for the good to humanity. Dr. Otis reminded me that my little part of life can serve the greater good and that I have a vital part in ensuring that "The Dream" of which Martin Luther King spoke of, be realized."
                                                                                       - Krishmaa Jendayi-Robinson, nursing student

"I don't know if I would have had the courage to march or if I could have demonstrated peacefully. An example would be the lunch counter sit-ins. It took a lot of preparation and courage for those involved to do what they did."
                                                                                                   -Lisa Farrow, circulation manager

L to R: Lisa Farrow, Rev. Otis Moss, Krishmaa Jendayi-Robinson, and LaNisha Rivers

Read more about Rev. Moss' visit to LaGrange College in the LaGrange Daily News Article.

For an interesting clip of Dr. King's release from the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, see the Civil Rights Digital Library video!

Monday, January 13, 2014

We Shall Overcome

On January 20th, LaGrange College and Lewis Library will be closed in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday in which we remember the life and accomplishments of a our nation's greatest civil rights leader. Atlanta is home to the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site as well as Dr. King's birthplace, final resting place, and alma mater, Morehouse College. A wealth of history sits just in our backyard, and we encourage to take a trip up to Atlanta to learn just what this great civil rights leader meant to the people of our city and our country.

Martin Luther King's childhood home, Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, GA

On January 8th, the New York Times published an article in the Books section entitled "Part of Something Big: 'The Cart that Carried Martin' and 'We Shall Overcome.'" The article by Sarah Harrison Smith introduces the new children's book The Cart that Carried Martin by the very prolific Eve Bunting. Bunting tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King's funeral and the mule-drawn cart that carried him through the streets of Atlanta to his final resting place on that sad day in 1968. Smith notes that as onlookers watched the cart roll past Ebenezer Baptist Church, the state capitol, and on to Morehouse College, the hymn "We Shall Overcome" could be heard from the people lining the streets. Debbie Levy writes on the history of this song in her book of the same name, and Smith highlights how Levy has emphasized the powerful message of the song that can be traced all the way back to a song slaves would sing in the face of suffering and in the name of freedom and human rights.

The Cart that Carried Martin is a brand new part of our juvenile collection on the 3rd floor of Lewis Library, and we have a wealth of other books on Dr. King waiting to be checked out.

323.09 Bunting
Located on the 3rd floor

Also, don't miss the CE event on January 21st (in the Dickson Assembly room) featuring the Reverend Otis Moss, Jr., a LaGrange native and civil rights leader who attended Morehouse College and was a close, personal friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Reverend Moss is highly revered as a civil rights leader and continues to fight for equality and justice as well as many other causes. This is an opportunity not to miss.

Look for a new blog post about Reverend Moss's visit after January 21st!

Harrison-Smith, Sarah. "Part of Something Big: 'The Cart that Carried Martin' and 'We Shall Overcome.'" New York Times, 8 Jan 2014. Retrieved from:

* Photo of MLK childhood home retrieved from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License. Owner: Jeff Clemmons.

*This article was written by Lindsey Lowry

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Library History and Nostalgia

Artists flock to the Louvre in Paris to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. Writers clamor to Walden's pond to walk in the footsteps of the transcendentalists. Historians hunger for a chance to see the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. What do Librarians do to feel like they're standing on the shoulders of giants?

We trek to New York, New York! The New York Public Library is a dream destination for any Librarian on this side of the Atlantic. Why? Oh thank you for asking!

Maybe it's the marble floors, the grand staircases, the cavernous hallways, the angelic murals on the ceiling, the gorgeous (and enormous) wooden doors, or the big glass windows overlooking Fifth Avenue that makes one feel like it's possible to step back in time and listen in on the conversations of the New Yorkers who made this beautiful building a reality.

But what really makes a Librarian want to leave the small-town behind are the reading and research rooms at America's most famous public library. 

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
New York Public Library Research Room

Gorgeous, isn't it? I had the wonderful opportunity to visit this heavenly place in September, and it did not disappoint.

(Fun Fact #1: The New York Public Library was dedicated in 1911 and featured 75 miles worth of shelves for its collection of over 1 million books! And that was over 100 years ago!)

Hop in my DeLorean and let's take a trip back to 1963...

(queue Johnny Cash)

My quest to see this famous landmark got me thinking about the history of our very own William and Evelyn Banks Library, now called William and Evelyn Banks Hall -- the library I worked and studied in as an undergraduate not so long ago.

Banks Library, west front c. 1963.
LaGrange College Archives.

William and Evelyn Banks Library Interior c. 1963
LaGrange College Archives
Banks Library was dedicated on June 1st, 1963, and was an improvement over the even older location of the library in what is now The Quillian Building (called the William Banks Library, at the time) which housed the library in the 40's and 50's.

And where was the library before that you ask? Ok, I'll tell you.

The first floor of Hawkes! Back then it was known as the Rufus Wright Smith Library. And guess what year Hawkes was built and came to house the Rufus Wright Smith Library?

Interestingly enough, it was 1911! (This explains the ghosts. Sleep tight!) 

So the very same year LaGrange College opened a new library in Hawkes, the (much larger and more expensive) New York Public Library opened to the public for the first time!

Moving day, April 3rd, 1963. Hilltop News.
LaGrange College Archives 

Fun Fact #2:

When the library moved from Hawkes to the William Banks Library (now Quillian) in the 1940s, students carried stacks of library books across the quad from the 1st floor of Hawkes (the Rufus Wright Smith Library) into the new space. 

In a similar fashion, on April 3rd, 1963, the students moved library books from William Banks Library (now Quillian) into the new William and Evelyn Banks Library (now Banks Hall). 

President Gulley Joining the Lewis Library Book Brigade!
January 27th, 2009

The parade of books is a LaGrange College tradition! We even followed this tradition when we moved into the new Lewis Library in 2009!

Lewis Library Book Brigade, January 27th, 2009

Both the New York Public Library and the former libraries of LaGrange College have rich histories and stories to tell.

To learn more about the former William and Evelyn Banks Library, visit Lagrange College's Archives and Special Collections on the 1st floor of Lewis Library, or ask a long-time Faculty member for his or her memories!

If you would like to learn more about the New York Public Library, check out this DVD from our collection:

The People's Palace: A Portrait of the New York Public Library
DVD Z733 .N56 2007

*This post was authored by Lindsey Lowry with help from Jacque Hornsby
*Photo of the New York Public Library Research Room by David Iliff. The license for this photo can be found at