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The Louisville Western Library
African American Archives

The Carnegie-endowed “Western Colored Branch Library,” which opened in 1908, was the first library in the nation to extend privileges to the African American community. Many books by African American writers were included in Western’s collection and served as the beginning of the present African American Archives. The Archives contain print and non-print resources, a clippings file, photographs, manuscripts, pamphlets, periodicals, and microforms selected to provide information on culture and life in black America.

Here’s a sampling of the unique items in our Archives:

Manuscripts of Joseph Cotter, Sr.
Poet, songwriter, educator

Writings and lectures of Thomas F. Blue
First African American branch librarian

Vertical file with clippings from African American
newspapers and periodicals

Slave Narratives
from the Federal Writers’ Project