Thu March 29, 2012
Cossitt Library and Integration
On March 23rd, 1960, the Memphis Press Scimitar reported that 23 students from LeMoyne College had tried to use the Cossitt Library and the Brooks Art Museum, and they were charged with trespassing.
The students were represented by Benjamin Hooks, who later became president of the NAACP. Hooks arranged a two-week truce with the city to try to work out a way to open public libraries, the zoo, and the Brooks and Pink Palace museums. These efforts failed.
Sit-ins and protests continued for several months. The case went to federal court. Eventually, the Supreme Court ordered the opening of public facilities to all citizens, regardless of race. Once the decision was handed-down, integration was accomplished peacefully.