A Separate Flame

Western Branch: The First African American Public Library

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:

Thomas Blue Learn more about Rev. Thomas Fountain Blue

View the Rev. Thomas Fountain Blue Papers Collection
Rachel D. Harris Learn more about Mrs. Rachel D. Harris
Joseph Cotter Sr. Learn more about Joseph Cotter Sr.
Julia King Learn more about Mrs. Julia King of Toldedo, Ohio
Jacob Aldrich Learn about Mr. Jacob Aldrich of Beaumont, Texas