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April 14, 2012


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Alfred Brophy

Well, maybe this is proving tougher than I'd anticipated. Anyone want a hint?

David J. Garrow

I looked & had no idea whatsoever! Somehow my instinct says Richmond, not Savannah, not Charleston, not New Orleans, but I don't know Richmond well at all, though clearly several of your regular readers do, and their silence suggests my instinct is wrong!

Alfred Brophy

If you don't know, David, then this is going to be prove tough!

It's in Virginia, close to Richmond. David, I'm pretty sure that you identified one of the civil rights building trivia questions from this same town earlier this year.

Alfred Brophy

I'm thinking I need to give a hint here. So which do folks want -- the location of the building or what it is?

Joel Eisen

Petersburg Public Library, site of a 1960 sit-in. (On my honor, no communication with or advice received from my colleague Carl. . .)

Bonus: sit-in took place mere hours after I was born.

This was hard. At first, I thought "school" (but why the red drop box on the porch??) & your cemetery clue was Lewis Powell/Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond. Now, having read an article about the sit-in, I have no idea what cemetery you are referencing or who is buried there.

Alfred Brophy

Joel! You're good. I feared this one might go unanswered for a while, perhaps a long while. One of my correspondents (known by his pen name, Bevereley Tucker) said this is the hardest trivia question we've had! And, as you might suspect from his pen name, he's from Virginia.

Very nice job figuring this out -- indeed the drop box was a give-away, of sorts. There's a lot to this story that I want to talk about. The sit in, in February 1960, was one of the first -- and all the more important because it took place in a library. There's some very good work on integration of libraries -- my former colleague Art LeFrancois has a nice piece on the integration of libraries in the Alabama Law Review back in like 2003, for instance. But the really cool thing for me is that one of the people who integrated (or attempted to integrate) the library asked for -- get this -- Douglas Southall Freeman's Lee Biography. I love that. When I visited the library recently I looked in the biography section of the stacks and saw more on Frederick Douglas than Lee. My, how the times have changed! Freeman is buried in the Hollywood Cemetery and I'll post a picture of his headstone later today, along with a little more on this.

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