The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library

The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library Details

In 1950 Ruth W. Brown, librarian at the Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Public Library, was summarily dismissed from her job after thirty years of exemplary service, ostensibly because she had circulated subversive materials. In truth, however, Brown was fired because she had become active in promoting racial equality and had helped form a group affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality.


Louise S. Robbins tells the story of the political, social, economic, and cultural threads that became interwoven in a particular time and place, creating a strong web of opposition. This combination of forces ensnared Ruth Brown and her colleagues-for the most part women and African Americans-who championed the cause of racial equality.


This episode in a small Oklahoma town almost a half-century ago is more than a disturbing local event. It exemplifies the McCarthy era, foregrounding those who labored for racial justice, sometimes at great cost, before the civil rights movement. In addition, it reveals a masking of concerns that led even Brown’s allies to obscure the cause of racial integration for which she fought. Relevant today, Ruth Brown’s story helps us understand the matrix of personal, community, state, and national forces that can lead to censorship, intolerance, and the suppression of individual rights.


 

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Title:The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780806133140
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    The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library Reviews

  • Tonya Severson

    Although the book describes events that occurred in the 1950s, similar dangers face intellectual freedom today, as demonstrated by the hastily pushed and adopted "PATRIOT" Act.Miss Brown, a librarian ...

  • Richard Powell

    Set in a small town in the middle of the country in the middle of the last century, the author writes a compelling story of the town librarian who was removed from her position. Ostensibly this was be...

  • Lizzy

    I wish we could have read more about Brown's activism in HER OWN WORDS in this book. We got little snippets but the writing was more about how people reacted TO her, not who she really was, if that ma...

  • Carrie

    I was disappointed in this book about a librarian whose civil rights activism resulted in the loss of her job and a town run amok with accusations of communism. The book presents the facts, but that's...

  • Kate

    *phew* This book was dry. So dry. Very much "just the facts, ma'am." Can you jazz it up a little? This is coming from a person who adores to read about histories and libraries. Ms. Brown is quite admi...

  • Karl

    A great book! And written by one of the professors in my LIS program. What appears, on the surface, to be a standard-fare McCarthy-era case of panicked censorship is revealed to be a far more nuanced ...

  • Gina

    Was Ruth Brown fired from her position as public librarian in 1950 (after 30 years of service) for circulating Communist materials, or for promoting racial equality? Either way, Brown got screwed but ...

  • Ann

    Although I appreciate the story and the struggle, I was a bit disappointed in the 2 dimensional characters. I also would have liked to have read more about Ruth Brown and her story. However, at the en...

  • Stevie

    I had to read this for school (and it's my professor's book). All the same, I really enjoyed it -- the writing was livelier than your typical academic press biography-with-a-larger-theme, and it thoro...

  • Jim

    I was interested in how the power brokers of Barlesville, Oklahoma, using the guise of McCarthyist anti-communism, were able to fire librarian Ruth Brown in 1950, and scatter or silence her supporters...