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80 years later, Alexandria marks civil rights milestone

Posted on Aug 23,2019
Filed Under Local Politics , Politics,

Five men were arrested at the Alexandria Library on Queen Street on Aug. 21, 1939, because they defied the exclusion of black people. (Courtesy Alexandria Black History Museum)
Source Wtop

By Rick Massimo

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Sit-ins are remembered as one of the prime tactics of the civil rights movement, beginning in the 1960s and including sit-ins at Columbia University and Howard University later in the decade. But one of the first sit-ins in the fight for racial equality happened in the D.C. area much earlier than that.

On Aug. 21, 1939, five young black men staged a sit-in at the library on Queen Street in Alexandria, Virginia; they were protesting the library’s exclusion of black people.

This sit-in 80 years ago involved a court case, a brilliant young lawyer and a long-term movement, the artifacts of which are still at work today.

On that Monday in 1939, the five men walked into the library one at a time and asked for library cards. They were given the standard response: The library was for white people only.

Source Wtop

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