Purcellville Library Celebrates 60 Years of Desegregation

Loudoun County Public Library will mark the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of the Purcellville Library with a day-long series of events Saturday, April 8.

Two Purcellville upholsterers, Samuel Cardoza Murray and his wife, Josie Cook Murray, went to the library in December 1956 to get a book they needed for their business. When they were refused permission to check out the book, Oliver Ellis Stone, a Washington lawyer, agreed to take on their case. On April 8, 1957, by a 4-to-3 vote, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors decided that the library should be open to all. It is remembered as the first victory for Loudoun’s civil rights movement.

The Library will honor the Murrays’ perseverance with a variety of events for all ages:

  • 10:30 a.m.: Upholstery crafts for grades 3-8.
  • 11 a.m.-5 p.m.: An exhibit of stories, photos and artifacts about the Civil Rights era in Loudoun.
  • Noon: “A Library for All,” a discussion of the Murrays’ successful efforts to integrate the Library.
  • 1 p.m.: “Loudoun and the Long Civil Rights Movement,” with James Hershman.
  • 2 p.m.: Panel discussion on Western Loudoun’s Civil Rights heritage with Gertrude Evans, Walter Jackson, and Reginald Simms.
  • 3 p.m.:  Live Music: Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo, which honors and promotes African-American cultures through traditional blues and Piedmont-style folk music.

For more information, visit library.loudoun.gov or call the Purcellville Library at 540 338 7235.

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