In the past 90 years, Charleston has been through sweeping historical change. The Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and countless triumphs and follies of over a dozen administrations — and the John L. Dart Library has been witness to it all.
When John L. Dart founded the library in 1927, it was the first free public library for African Americans in Charleston. The library initially functioned as a reading room for the Charleston Normal and Industrial School, a school Dart also founded to serve African-American children pushed out of the segregated school system. Dart’s daughter, Susan Dart Butler, established the actual library, and helped elevate it as a foundation for music, politics, and literature for African Americans throughout the community.
In celebration of 90 years as a pillar of the community and a product of the Civil Rights Movement, Charleston Public Library is hosting an anniversary event from 10:30 a.m to 12 p.m. this Sat. Dec. 9 at the John L. Dart Library at 1067 King St. The event will include the unveiling of a historical marker and special presentations of poetry and clips from a documentary about the history of the John L. Dart library.